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Eczema – Symptoms, causes and other risk factors


Eczema is a general term that can be meant for any superficial inflammatory process which is involving the epidermis in the first place. In the first stage this condition is marked with itching, redness, weeping, crusting, minute papules and vesicles and in the later stage it is involving often pigmentation, lichenification and scaling. Atoptic dermatitis is other term for this condition. This condition is making your skin itchy and red. It is most common condition in children but it can affect people from any age. This is a chronic condition. In some periods eczema tends to flare and then it subsides. Also you can have a high fever or asthma when you suffer from eczema. There is not cure which is found for this condition. The self – care and some treatments can help you to get a relief from the itching and also they can prevent from new outbreaks. They can help you to avoid harsh soaps and other kinds of irritants. Also they can help you to avoid ointments or medicated creams. Also they will moisturize your skin. [1] If you notice that this disease can prevent you from sleeping or it is distracting you from the everyday activities, then you must talk with your doctor.

Symptoms of eczema

The signs and symptoms of this disease can vary from one person to other. Here are the signs and symptoms of eczema:

  • Swollen, raw and sensitive skin from scratching
  • Dry, cracked, scaly and thickened skin
  • Raised and small bumps which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Red to brownish – gray patches especially on the feet, hands, neck, wrists, eyelids, upper chest, inside the knees and elbows and in infants the scalp and face
  • Itching which may be severe especially at night

When you have eczema, then usually it starts before the age of 5. Also there are some cases when this disease continues to adolescence and adulthood. In some cases this disease flares in some period and it clears in that time even this can happen for several years.

Factors that worsen eczema: In the most cases when people suffer from eczema, they also have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin. [2] When the skin barrier is broken, then this kind of bacteria is multiplying rapidly. Also you can notice fluid on your skin. In young children when they have eczema plus these bacteria, then the symptoms of this disease are becoming worse. There are many factors which can worsen the signs and symptoms of this disease such as

  • Stress [3]
  • Eggs, milk, peanut, soybeans, fish and wheat in infants and children
  • Dry skin, which can result from long hot baths or showers
  • Dust and pollen
  • Wool in carpets, blankets and clothing
  • Sweat [4]
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Tobacco smoke and air pollution [5]
  • Changes in heat and humidity
  • Scratching which causes further skin damage
  • Solvents, soaps, detergents and cleaners [6]

Also when you suffer from eczema, then this disease can be related with allergies. If you eliminate the allergens of this condition, then you can help yourself to clear the eczema. Also there are some cases when items that trap the dust such as drapes, mattresses, carpeting, down comforters and feather pillows can worsen the eczema. If you are distracted from the everyday activities or you are losing your sleep because you are uncomfortable, then you must visit your doctor. Also if you have noticed that you have taken self – care steps and there is not success or your skin is infected, then you should talk with your doctor as soon as possible. Also if this condition is making problems in your vision, then you should visit your doctor.


Causes: The exact cause for this disease is not known. There are many factors which can lead to eczema such as

  • Environmental conditions [5]
  • Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus on the skin that creates a film that blocks sweat glands [2]
  • Dry, irritable skin, which is reducing the ability of our skin to be an effective barrier
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • A gene variation that affects the skin’s barrier function

Risk factors: There are some factors which can increase the risk of getting eczema such as

  • Being a health care worker which is linked to hand dermatitis [6]
  • A personal or family history of eczema, hay fever, allergies or asthma

These are some conditions of the Eczema.


[1] Lee JH, Son SW, Cho SH. A comprehensive review of the treatment of atopic eczema. Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research. 2016;8(3):181–90.

[2] Nowicka D, Grywalska E. The role of immune defects and colonization of Staphylococcus aureus in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Analytical Cellular Pathology. 2018.

[3] Suarez AL, Feramisco JD, Koo J, Steinhoff M. Psychoneuroimmunology of psychological stress and atopic dermatitis: Pathophysiologic and therapeutic updates. Acta Dermato-Venereologica. 2012;92(1):7–15. doi:10.2340/00015555-1188

[4] Murota H, Yamaga K, Ono E, Katayama I. Sweat in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Allergology International. 2018;67(4):455-9.

[5] To T, Zhu J, Stieb D, et al. Early life exposure to air pollution and incidence of childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema. European Respiratory Journal. 2020;55:1900913. doi:10.1183/13993003.00913-2019.

[6] AAFA Community Services. Eczema, handwashing and the new coronavirus (COVID-19): Protecting yourself and your skin. 2020. Retrieved from

Hanan Marshal
Hanan Marshal
Hanan, a medical student (MBBS) having passion for writing and is very much interested in holistic living along with nature. He is very much interested in doing community service and watches anime and play PS4 during his free time. You can reach him through [email protected]



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