The most common health problem after musculo-skeletal problems is dermatitis or eczema. This is not surprising when the average adult has 21 square feet (2 square metres) of skin that weighs 3.2 kg (7 pounds) and has approximately 300 million skin cells.
Approximately 29% of industrial health problems are contact dermatitis. This is probably higher as many people suffer from the condition without knowing. Most people work with their hands and this is usually the first area affected by contact dermatitis. Other exposed areas such as the face and neck may also be involved.
Another form of eczema is atopic eczema, which is the most common form of eczema. It is rare to be born with the condition however it commonly develops at about 2-3 months. Fortunately many children will grow out of it but for some with severe eczema it will continue through into their teens and even adult life.
The majority of children will only have mild eczema by the time they start school. On average half of the children with eczema should be much improved by school age and three-quarters by their teens. There is always the possibility of a flare up even after years of normal skin.