Occlusive therapy is highly effective. Apply the topical steroids mentioned above under subacute eczema and cover with a plastic wrap such as Saran wrap. The plastic dressing does not have to be airtight. Secure the dressing with tape on either end. A sock will hold the plastic dressing against a foot. The dressing may stay on for 2 hours or overnight. Remove the dressing and apply an emollient or more medication. It is not necessary to wash the skin each time a plastic dressing is applied. The appearance of pustules indicates a secondary infection. Stop treatment and prescribe topical or oral antibiotics for this side effect of occlusive therapy.
For people with mild-to-moderate eczema, topical immunomodulators (TIMs) can help. TIMS -- including brand name products Protopic and Elidel -- work by altering the body's immune response to allergens, preventing flare ups. However, in 2005, the FDA warned doctors to prescribe Elidel and Protopic with caution due to concerns over a possible cancer risk associated with their use. The two medications have an FDA "black box" warning on their packaging to alert doctors and patients to these potential risks. The warning advises doctors to prescribe short-term use of Elidel and Protopic only after other available eczema treatments have failed in adults and children over the age of 2.