Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. This condition is not contagious.
It is sometimes referred to as the itch that rashes
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The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Factors that may contribute to eczema include:
Factors that increase your chance of eczema:
The symptoms vary from person to person. Scratching and rubbing can cause or worsen some of the symptoms. Symptoms include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is made by the appearance and location of the rash.You may be referred to specialist. A dermatologist focuses on skin disorders. An allergist focuses on allergies.
The main goals of eczema treatments are to:
Treatment options may vary. Your doctor may recommend more than one depending on your condition. They include:
It is difficult to prevent eczema. This is most true when there is a strong family history.
You may be able to reduce your child's risk of eczema by:
Your doctor may have more information regarding steps for reducing the risk of eczema.
If you already have eczema, there are several things you can do to try to control it:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
National Eczema Society
Canadian Dermatology Association
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7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Langan SM, Flohr C, Williams HC. The role of furry pets in eczema: a systematic review. Arch Dermatol. 2007;143:1570-1577.
6/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Alexander DD, Cabana MD. Partially hydrolyzed 100% whey protein infant formula and reduced risk of atopic dermatitis: a meta-analysis. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(4):422-430.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Dotterud CK, Storr O, Johnsen R, Oien T. Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: a randomized, double-blind trial. Br J Dermatol. 2010;163:616-623.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Purvee S. Shah, MD
Last Updated: 3/11/2013