Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are my hands swollen and red?"
I'm a 21 year old construction worker, and my hands have been swollen and red for a few days. At first I thought it was an allergic reaction to the workgloves I was wearing, but my hands haven't improved since I quit wearing them. I've never had any trouble like this before, though sometimes my hands have gotten tender for no reason
I think the first thing to sort out is whether the swelling and redness is in and over the joints or whether it is more a generalized swelling and redness of the hands. If the swelling and redness is mostly in the joints then you should go see your doctor, because this would be a sign of arthritis, which could be potentially related to an infection or other serious problem and would need to be evaluated. If the swelling and redness is more generally all over the skin, then the two most likely possibilities would be contact dermatitis from your gloves or some other chemical you have come in contact with or eczema, which is an inflammation provoked by dryness of the skin. Both conditions would initially be treated by avoiding irritants and chemicals (and the work gloves, if you think that played a role), regular moisturizing of the skin with a good, thick, greasy moisturizer like hydrolated petrolatum, and a topical over the counter steroid cream like 1% hydrocortisone. If you do not see improvement in a few days with this regimen, then I would talk to your primary care doctor as stronger medicines, including stronger steroid creams, may be necessary.
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