Eczema is an inflammation of the skin causing the skin to become red, dry and itchy. As with many conditions the severity varies from person to person. Some people experience a mildly itchy rash on a small part of the body and consider it a mild irritation. For others the eczema covers their entire body, is extremely itchy and the skin cracks and becomes painful.
Who Gets Eczema?
Most people think eczema only affects children but anyone can get eczema at any age. It affects both males and females equally. You are more likely to develop eczema if there is a family history of eczema, asthma or hayfever (allergic rhinitis).
What Does Eczema Look Like?
Eczema skin is usually very dry and scaly. Due to the itchiness of eczema and the excessive scratching scratch marks and broken skin are not uncommon. Continuous scratching will cause the skin to thicken and broken skin may lead to a skin infection.
A baby developing eczema between the ages of 2 – 4 months usually has inflammation of the skin with oozing and crusting. For a child not developing eczema until around 2 years of age the oozing and crusting is less common as the rash is usually dryer and scaly.
Where Do You Get Eczema?
Eczema can develop on any part of the body. In children it is most common on the face and scalp and in the skin folds where the skin is more prone to being warm and moist.
Adults will commonly develop eczema on their hands and this is frequently due to a substance they are continually exposed to that they have become sensitive to.
Is Eczema Contagious?
Eczema may look unsightly, it may weep and ooze, but it is not contagious. You cannot catch eczema by touching, looking at or being near someone with eczema.
Eczema may be passed down the family line from generation to generation but it cannot be passed from person to person by contact or droplet transfer.