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There are different types of eczema. The most common type is atopic eczema. Most cases first develop in children under the age of five years.
The word ‘atopic’ describes people with certain ‘allergic’ tendencies. However, atopic eczema is not just a simple allergic condition. People with atopic eczema have an increased chance of developing other ‘atopic’ conditions such as asthma and hay fever.
Patients with eczema usually have dry skin. Some areas of the skin become red and inflamed. The most common areas affected are next to skin creases such as the front of the elbows and wrists, backs of knees, and around the neck. However, any areas of skin may be affected. The face is a commonly affected area in babies.
Inflamed skin is itchy and if scratched a lot may cause the skin to thicken, sometimes the inflamed areas blister, weep and may become infected.
In general, it is young children with severe eczema who may have food sensitivity as a trigger factor. The most common foods, which trigger eczema symptoms in some people, include: cow’s milk, eggs, soya, wheat, fish, and nuts.
Other ‘triggers’ may be house dust mites, pollen, pets or mould.