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Eczema is a condition in which the skin becomes itchy, red, inflamed, rough, and cracked. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. While eczema is not contagious, it can affect both adults and children alike. This condition most commonly appears on the back of the knees, the inside of the elbows, the face, the neck, and the scalp.


Common symptoms of eczema include:

  • Itchy skin

  • Redness

  • Dry, scaly, or thick skin

  • Small, fluid-filled blisters

  • Infection in areas of broken skin



What Causes Eczema?

The specific cause of eczema is not known, though it is believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development. Children are more likely to have eczema if a parent has had it. Certain environmental factors are known to bring about eczema, such as irritants, allergens, microbes, certain foods, hot and cold temperatures, stress, and hormones.



How is Eczema Treated?

Atopic eczema is commonly treated with medications such as over-the-counter steroid hydrocortisone creams, which can help to control symptoms. Prescription-strength cortisone creams, cortisone pills, and cortisone shots can also help to control severe eczema cases. Antibiotics and antihistamines may also be able to help with infection and/or itching.


While eczema cannot be prevented, there are some steps that can be taken to improve eczema. These include:

  • Reducing stress

  • Avoiding irritating materials

  • Frequently moisturizing the skin

  • Avoiding drastic changes in temperature

  • Avoiding situations that can cause sweating

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