What Is Eczema and Who Gets It

What is eczema? This is a common question for people of all ages and backgrounds. Though a common skin condition, many people do not know about eczema's symptoms; as such, they are not properly diagnosed.

Eczema is a skin condition that results when one's immune system is off. It is triggered by everything from shifts in weather to new soaps, detergents, clothing, jewelry or perfumes, among other things. Eczema is worsened if a person has allergies, whether those allergies are to hay and pollen or dairy and wheat. Similarly, if you have asthma, it is common to experience more intense eczema symptoms. Air pollution and stress can also make eczema that much worse.

If you have eczema, your skin will take on a red, inflamed, itchy, often scaly appearance. This is a lot more serious than a sunburn or a bout with poison ivy. If left untreated, blisters and lesions can form and even burst and ooze. Those with eczema will have patches of skin that seem thick in texture and like leather. Often, the skin will darken in color and will appear to be cracked. Thus, eczema can be quite embarrassing and often painful.

It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of children have or have had eczema and 2 percent of adults have the condign later in life. Often, people who experience mild forms of the skin condition's symptoms think they have a rash or have bitten by a bug. People of all ages and backgrounds are prone to the condition. If your family has a history of it, chances are higher that you will one day see the symptoms appear. Though adults can experience eczema late in life, it most commonly appears in childhood. In fact, it may even rear its head during the child's first 5 years. 

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