What is Eczema – Eczema Explained

What is Eczema – Eczema Explained

Eczema is one of the most common forms of skin disease. This skin disease tends to run in families. The most common parts that are affected by the eczema is the front of the knees, elbows and the ankles. In some people this itchy skin rash can affect the entire body. In babies, the face tends to be commonly affected by eczema.

Eczema and dermatitis are terms that refer to an itchy skin rash which often occurs in families. Dermatitis, in simple terms, means inflammation of the dermis. Dermis is the layer of skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. This type of skin disease is most commonly seen in infants and children. The child or other family members may also present with a history of other skin diseases, allergies to certain substances, asthma or hay fever. Eczema, especially in children and babies causes considerable anxiety to the parents and the care givers who may then resort to a range of topical creams and applications that are readily available in supermarkets these days. However, it is extremely important to consult the health care professional before starting any new treatment regimen.

People affected by this condition often suffer from extreme dryness of the skin. The skin becomes dry, flaky and dull. In other cases there is intense itching of the skin. The person scratches the skin constantly. This is observed mainly in toddlers and children. The scratching in turn causes intense skin redness and dullness of the skin. The skin becomes inflamed. In extreme and severe cases of eczema, there is oozing of fluid from the affected patches of skin.

Children suffering from these skin conditions often have a low immunity. As a result of this, along with eczema they may also suffer from severe infections such as the herpes simplex virus – the same virus that causes cold sores. People with cold sores should not be allowed to kiss your child. There is no special problem with other viruses and the usual childhood immunizations are safe.

Another severe complication of eczema is impetigo. Impetigo is a bacterial infection. This type of infection of the skin can occur on top of the eczema, as a result of frequent scratching of the affected patches of skin. This will need antibiotic medicines as it is a case of a bacterial infection. Do not use disinfectants – they will only irritate the skin further.

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Top image – By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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