Eczema is a term used to describe a group of medical conditions in which the skin becomes inflamed or irritated. Eczema affects approximately 10% to 20% of infants and about 3% of adults and children. Most children out grow it by their tenth birthday, while others continue to have symptoms and off throughout their life. The disease can often be controlled with proper treatment and medication.
Eczema can differ and therefore have many symptoms, however one can usually associate and itching sensation with eczema. The itching is the more prominent symptom, in some cases beginning even before the rash appears. The rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that happens mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.
Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown, and among darker-skinned people Eczema can also affect the pigmentation of one’s skin at an affected area in darker-skinned people.
Although the direct cause of eczema is unknown, it is thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant, which in turn causes the symptoms of eczema. In addition eczema is commonly found in families with a history of allergies or asthma.
Eczema “flare-ups” can be triggered by multiple substances or conditions. For example excessive heat, cold, or moisture could cause the skin to become itchy. Others experience discomfort when coming in contact with certain household products such as soaps and detergents. Also, it is important to note that stress may cause the condition to worsen.
Eczema can be diagnosed by a dermatologist or pediatrician, solely by looking at one’s skin and asking questions. Because of the correlation between allergies and eczema, the doctor may perform an allergy test to determine...
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