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Eczema, or dermatitis, is an umbrella term for many types of skin swelling. It may cause itchiness, dryness, and rashes on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees, hands, and feet. Scratching the skin will only cause it to worsen (redness and swelling may appear). 

The symptoms vary according to the age of the person with eczema:

Babies below two years old experience:

  • Rashes on the scalp and cheeks
  • Rashes that bubble up and leak fluid
  • Itchy rashes (it is advised to avoid rubbing and scratching to avoid skin infections)

Children older than two years old until they hit puberty

  • Rashes behind the elbows or knees
  • Rashes on the neck, ankles, wrists, buttocks, legs
  • Bumpy rashes
  • Discolored rashes
  • Thickened rashes that develop knots and permanent itch

Adults who have eczema may experience:

  • Rashes in the creases of knees, elbows, and neck
  • Rashes may be all over the body, but prominent on the neck, face, and around the eyes
  • Dry skin caused by rashes
  • Itchiness that never goes away
  • Scaly rashes

There is no known cause for eczema, however, it can be caused by genetic and environmental factors. Some people outgrow the condition, while others will continue to have it throughout adulthood. The following environmental factors are known to trigger the symptoms of eczema:

  • Allergens – dust mites, pets, pollen, mold
  • Foods – dairy, eggs, seeds, nuts, soy, wheat 
  • Irritants – soaps, shampoos, detergents, disinfectants, fruit juices, certain vegetables, meat
  • Extreme temperatures – very hot (perspiration can also cause it) or cold weather 
  • Bacteria, viruses and certain fungi – the most common is staphylococcus aureus
  • Stress – may worsen the condition
  • Hormones – women may experience increased symptoms when their hormone levels are changing (menstruation and pregnancy)

Eczema is not contagious, but is also not curable and can be extremely uncomfortable. However, a medical provider can help to determine the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms. If you are searching for relief from your eczema or skin irritation, stop by any ModernMD location! 


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