Eczema (pronounced: EK-zeh-ma) is a group of skin conditions that cause skin to become red, irritated, itchy, and sometimes develop small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze.
There are many forms of eczema, butatopic (pronounced: ay-TOP-ik)eczema is one of the most common and severe. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes atopic eczema, also called atopic dermatitis(pronounced: der-muh-TIE-tis), but they think it could be a difference in the way a person’s immune systemreacts to things. Skin allergies may be involved in some forms of eczema.
If you have eczema, you’re probably not the only person you know who has it. Eczema isn’t contagious like a cold, but most people with eczema have family members with the condition. Researchers think it’s inherited or passed through the genes. In general, eczema is fairly common — about 1 in 10 people in the world will be affected by it at some point in their lives.
People with eczema also may have asthma and certain allergies, such as hay fever. For some, food allergies (such as allergies to cow’s milk, soy, eggs, fish, or wheat) may bring on or worsen eczema. Allergies to animal dander, dust, and other things in the environment can also trigger the condition in some people.