what is eczema?

The word eczema comes from the Greek word “ekzein” which means “to boil.” 

Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a dry skin condition. It is a highly individual condition which varies from person to person and comes in many different forms. It is not contagious so you cannot catch it from someone else. 

In mild cases of eczema, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Constant scratching causes the skin to split and bleed and also leaves it open to infection. 

Eczema affects people of all ages. Children who “grow out” of their eczema during early childhood may see it recur again in later life. 

In the UK, one in five children and one in ten adults have eczema while eczema and contact dermatitis account for 84-90% of occupational skin disease.

Atopic eczema is a genetic condition based on the interaction between a number of genes and environmental factors. In most cases there will be a family history of either eczema or one of the other ‘atopic’ conditions i.e asthma or hay fever.

The National Eczema Society is an invaluable resource to inform and support those with eczema http://eczema.org/about-eczema.

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