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Symptoms of Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Signs and symptoms of eczema may include:

  • Itching (most common symptom)
  • Dry skin
  • Rash, usually consisting of red or scaly areas of skin
  • Areas commonly affected by eczema are:
    • Infants: face, neck, extensor surfaces, trunk, groin
    • Children: front of elbows, behind knees
    • Adults: front of elbows, behind knees, face, neck, upper chest
  • Rash may develop oozing or crusting
  • Thickening and leathery quality of skin with chronic eczema (known as lichen simplex chronicus)
  • Paleness around the mouth
  • Extra fold of skin beneath lower eyelid (Dennies or Morgans line)
  • Increased number of skin creases on the palms

Increased Incidence of Skin Infections

Signs of possible skin infection that may require prompt medical attention include:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Yellowish crusting
  • Drainage of pus

Emotional Effects of Eczema

The severity of eczema and the frequency and duration of outbreaks will vary among people. In severe cases, quality of life may be compromised. In addition to physical discomfort, people with eczema may develop emotional problems, such as depression or anxiety. People with eczema may experience social difficulties due to visible skin rashes.

Eczema and its treatment may be particularly difficult for children, especially when skin involvement is quite severe.

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References:

Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis. Updated June 1, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

 

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