Eczema is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. Blisters may sometimes occur.
The word "eczema" is also used specifically to talk about atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema.
"Atopic" refers to a collection of diseases involving the immune system, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and hay fever. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin.
Some people outgrow the condition, while others will continue to have it throughout adulthood. Here are some key points about eczema. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
Certain foods can trigger symptoms, such as nuts and dairy.
Symptoms vary according to the age of the person with eczema, but they often include scaly, itchy patches of skin.
Eczema can also be triggered by environmental factors like smoke and pollen. However, eczema is not a curable condition.
Treatment focuses on healing damaged skin and alleviating symptoms. There is not yet a full cure for eczema, but symptoms can be managed.
Eczema is not a contagious condition.
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary, depending on the age of the person with the condition.
Atopic dermatitis commonly occurs in infants, with dry and scaly patches appearing on the skin. These patches are often intensely itchy.
Most people develop atopic dermatitis before the age of 5 years. Half of those who develop the condition in childhood continue to have symptoms as an adult.
However, these symptoms are often different from those experienced by children.
People with the condition will often experience periods of time where their symptoms flare up or worsen, followed by periods of time where their symptoms will improve or clear up.
Regularly moisturizing the skin can help treat eczema.
There is no permanent cure for eczema. Treatment for the condition aims to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms. Doctors will suggest a plan of treatment based on an individual's age, symptoms, and current state of health.
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