It is worthwhile to give eczema attention because it can affect very young children who can carry the condition until adulthood. Moreover, anyone with chronic and acute eczema could suffer from frequent loss of sleep, loss of self-esteem (especially in children) due to unsightly sores and skin patches, and other stressful effects like loss of employment, difficulty in patient care and high medical costs.
There are several causes of eczema, all resulting in the common symptoms of itchiness and rashes. Eczema can be caused by hypersensitivity or allergy to common compounds in the environment (atopic eczema), contact with irritants (irritant contact dermatitis), and contact with allergens (allergic contact dermatitis) (Brown and Reynolds). Understanding the causes of eczema can provide means to relieve symptoms and treat the condition.
The most common form of eczema, atopic eczema is a genetic predisposition to become highly sensitized in response to allergens that are common in the environment. In the process, IgE antibodies are produced. Those with atopic eczema are highly sensitive to materials and elements that normally have no effect on most people. The condition afflicts mostly young children who have an increased chance of developing allergic asthma, hay fever and rhinitis later in life. In atopic eczema, itching is the most common manifestation accompanied by scaling and redness in patches of skin, the face included. Some people are mildly affected with only a few areas on their skin that are dry and scaly. Blisters and skin thickening become common in chronic cases (Brown and Reynolds).
The prevalence of atopic eczema varies widely worldwide. However, increased prevalence has not been attributed to genetic factors, but more on environmental effects (Brown and Reynolds). Atopic eczema is more common in urban and industrial settings, and in families with higher