Eczema can be very stressful and can make your daily life challenging and uncomfortable. The intense, frequent itch can cause loss of sleep, and days off from work or school. You may find yourself making significant lifestyle changes and avoiding fun activities, but the first step toward the solution is understanding:

1. WHAT IS ECZEMA?

Eczema is an itchy skin rash that typically comes and goes. Doctors also refer to eczema as atopic dermatitis. It usually starts in infancy or early childhood and may progress on to adulthood. Although the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environmental factors and the body’s immune system all play a role in its development.

2. HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ECZEMA?

If you have eczema, you’re probably not the only person in your family who has it. People with eczema usually have other family members who have a history of asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.

3. SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Eczema appears as dry, red, scaly, itchy rashes on the face and scalp of babies. In older children and adults, rashes typically appear on the skin folds - neck, elbows, back of the knees, wrist and ankles. Eczema in adults can often be noticeable around the face and around the eyes.

4. ECZEMA IS NOT CONTAGIOUS.

Eczema is not caused by a bacteria, fungus or virus. It might be eczema if you have:

• Itchy rashes that come and go
• A family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis
• Very dry and sensitive skin

Consult your doctor if you are unsure what your rash is. If you do have eczema, work with your doctor to make a treatment plan that works best for you.

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