eczema (eg-ze'ma, eg'ze-, ek'se-) [L. eczema, fr. Gr. ekzema, fr. ekzein, to boil out]
A general term for an itchy red rash that initially weeps or oozes serum and may become crusted, thickened, or scaly. Eczematous rash may result from various causes, including allergies, irritating chemicals, drugs, scratching or rubbing the skin, or sun exposure. It may be acute or chronic. The rash may become secondarily infected. See: dermatitis
Avoiding the cause of the rash (such as a sun-sensitizing drug; the leaves of the poison oak plant; an irritating soap or perfume, wool clothing, etc) prevents recurrences and allows the skin to heal. Locally applied astringent solutions (such as Burow's solution), antihistamines, or corticosteroid ointments, tablets, or injections may relieve the inflammation.
Patients are helped to identify and avoid allergens in their diet or environment. Clothing should be soft textured, preferably cotton, and washed in a mild detergent and rinsed thoroughly. Fingernails should be kept short to decrease damage from scratching. Antihistamines may help to reduce itching at night. Maintaining a room temperature below 72°F (22°C), using humidifiers during the winter, and bathing in tepid water help keep the skin hydrated and decrease itching. See: ;
asteatotic eczemaWinter itch.
Dry, pinkish, ill-defined patches with itching and burning; slight swelling with tendency to spread and coalesce; branny scaling; roughness and dryness of skin. This type may become generalized.
Eczema marked by a thick, dry, inelastic skin with cracks and fissures.
Massive crops of vesicles that become pustular, occurring when herpes simplex virus infection occurs in a person, usually an infant, with pre-existing eczema. Synonym: Kaposi varicelliform eruption
Eczema with thickening of the skin.
Eczema marked by a raw, red surface covered with moisture.
Eczema with coin-shaped or oval lesions. It is often associated with dry skin and worsens in dry weather. See: illustration
Follicular, impetiginous, or consecutive eczema including eczema rubrum, eczema madidans, eczema fissum, and squamous eczema .
Eczema marked by a red, glazed surface with little oozing.
Eczema marked by excessive secretion from the sebaceous glands. Synonym: seborrhea
Chronic eczema on the soles, legs, and scalp; marked by multiple circumscribed, infiltrated patches with thin, dry scales
The spreading of vaccinia virus to localized areas of skin, or to the entire body, in patients recently vaccinated against smallpox. This reaction is a rare complication of smallpox vaccination, occurring in about 40 per million of newly vaccinated individuals. It usually occurs in people with pre-existing eczema and is occasionally fatal.
Eczema accompanied by the formation of vesicles occurring on the hands or feet.