Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis is a group of inflammatory skin conditions that result in chronic itchy rashes. About 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of eczema, including 10-20 percent of all infants. Symptoms vary from person to person but often include dry, red, itchy patches on the skin which break out in rashes when scratched. Eczema is often seen in children who have a family or personal history of asthma or seasonal allergies.
Objects and conditions that trigger eczema outbreaks may include rough or coarse materials touching the skin, excessive heat or sweating, perfumed soaps, detergents, or lotions. Some people react to various foods, dust mites, animal dander, upper respiratory infections and stress.
Treatment can include prescription creams including immune-modulators, corticosteroid medication, antibiotics to combat infection, or sedative antihistamines. Once skin clearance is achieved, maintenance includes restriction of scratching, use of moisturizing lotions or creams, and over the counter anti-inflammatory corticosteroid creams and ointments.