Why are my hands itchy?
Byline: DR MIRIAM STOPPARD
Small pimples like grains of rice underneath the skin of your fingers which burst, weep, and become red and sore. You have patches of rough, red skin behind your knees, on your face and in front of your elbows.
Your hands and wrist are red, itchy and scaly. The rash is worse underneath your watch.
Itchiness especially at night but particularly the wrist, armpit and the web between your fingers. There's a pimply rash with tiny blisters and grey lines in the skin.
It could be:
Eczema of the hands (cheiropompholyx) usually down to a gene that's triggered by stress and lack of sleep.
An allergy to the metal in the back of your watch, most commonly nickel. You'll also be allergic to nickel in any other jewellery.
Scabies, a skin condition caused by the human itch mite. It lays its eggs in the skin and more than one member of the family may be affected because it passes from touching, a handshake or a hug.
Don't put your hands in water, always wear rubber gloves for dirty jobs BUT with a pair of cotton gloves inside soaked in moisturising hand cream. Use a smear of 0.1% hydrocortisone cream from the chemist three times a day and at night. See your doctor if it doesn't clear up.
Don't wear your watch, don't wear any nickel-containing jewellery and avoid all nickel in the future. To be certain, have patch tests done by an allergologist as nickel allergy can affect the eyes.
See your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Treat your skin with insecticides that kill the scabies mites and of all family member whose skin is itching. The first treatment is permethrin 5% cream and malathion 0.5% lotion if permethrin doesn't work.