What Is Eczema

Topics: Allergy, Eczema, Asthma / Pages: 4 (875 words) / Published: Oct 1st, 2010
More than half of all skin diseases are classified as eczema/dermatitis. These terms both describe inflammatory conditions of the skin associated with symptoms such as redness and swelling, blisters, weeping, itching and scratching. Some people are born with an inherited allergic tendency called atopy. Most eczema patients are atopic and they may also suffer from other allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever, urticaria or rhinitis.
Contact eczema/dermatitis is also common and is often caused by sensitivity to nickel in jewellery or studs in clothing. Other trigger substances include irritant chemicals such as oils from exposure at the workplace: - for example shampoo in hairdressers, cement (containing chromium) in builders.
In atopic patients the rash usually starts on the face, particularly over the cheeks and chin. Other patients may have a rash in the folds of the elbows, knee Symptoms of Eczema?
Symptoms typically include redness, cracking, weeping, soreness, itching, burning, blisters, crusting and scaling. These can be acute or chronic and, over a long time, after much scratching, the skin can bleed or become thickened and rough.
Contact eczema usually starts with a rash in the area where the skin is in contact with the trigger substance. Eventually this can spread almost anywhere.
Atopic eczema tends to occur in the face and/or in the skin creases but may spread to affect the whole body.
Another variety is seborrhoeic eczema which tends to occur on the face, centre of the chest and scalp. The skin may be greasy or scaly and, on the scalp, may contribute to dandruff.
Diagnosis of Eczema. Diagnosis is usually made by the patient’s General Practitioner, based on the history, family history and inspection of the skin, noting the type of rash and its distribution. A history of working with chemicals may be important, and a worsening of symptoms after eating certain foods should be considered. This may include salicylates which are found in certain

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