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Caring for people with eczema

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Eczema describes several inflammatory skin disorders, it is a chronic, common, non-infective inflammatory condition characterised by severe pruritus, redness and scaling. The condition usually occurs during infancy or early childhood - 80 per cent of cases present before five years of age.

The cause of atopic eczema is complex and not fully understood. Genetic and environmental factors are likely to contribute, accompanied by defects in the epithelial barrier function, causing the skin to become exceptionally permeable and more prone to damage from environmental irritants and allergens.

Skin diseases1 commonly lead to lost working time and have an economic impact on individuals, their family and society. Ignorance of skin diseases is widespread and those with eczema often have to cope with ill-informed remarks and worries that the skin condition is contagious. Understanding and educating can help reduce the detrimental effects skin conditions such as eczema can have on individuals and their families' wellbeing.

Twenty per cent of the UK population will experience a skin disorder that requires management. The type, frequency and prevalence of skin conditions are associated with social, geographical, cultural and racial factors.2

Various parts of the body can acquire eczema; each can be different from the other.

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