Overview of Eczema

Eczema Meaning in Urdu

ایکزیما جِلد کی ایک بیماری ہے جس کی وجہ سے جِلد کی خشکی، خارش، اور سوزش کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ یہ ایک متعدی بیماری نہیں ہے مگر یہ کسی بھی عمر کے افراد کو متاثر کر سکتی ہے۔ ایکزیما کی کچھ اقسام ایک لمبے عرصے کے لیے جِلد کو متاثر کر سکتی ہیں، اگر یہ لمبے عرصے کے لیے متاثر کرے تو انسان فوڈ الرجی اور دمہ کا مریض بھی بن سکتا ہے۔ جِلد کی انفیکشنز کو اس بیماری کی بڑی وجہ سمجھا جاتا ہے، تاہم اگر نیند پوری مقدار میں نہ لی جائے تو پھر بھی ایکزیما کے خطرات میں اضافہ ہو سکتا ہے۔

Skin disorders vary in their appearance. The most common feature among all of them is a red patch of the skin followed by swelling or itching. Eczema is another common skin disorder affecting people worldwide. 

Eczema (Jild Par Kharish Hona/ جلد پر خارش ہونا, چھاجن) is the skin condition identified by inflamed, cracked, and rough skin. Eczema causes the skin to become red, dry, itchy, and scaly. It can be mild as well as severe. 

Eczema is not contagious. It usually affects adults.

Itching in eczema is the first symptom treated. This disorder can be outgrown or it might continue throughout life.

Eczema Prevalence

Worldwide, eczema affects 15-30 percent of children and 2-10 percent of adults.

In Pakistan, the prevalence of atopic eczema is 44%. Karachi has a prevalence rate of 18.7 percent. In school-going children 21.8% have eczema.

In Punjab, 31.07 percent of the population is affected by eczema.

Doctors Treating Eczema

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Signs and Symptoms of Eczema

Symptoms in children and adults are different. Almost 60 percent of children become asymptomatic by adolescence.

Symptoms can worsen over the period or may clear up.

Signs and symptoms of eczema vary in each type. The types with their respective symptoms are as follows:

Symptoms of Eczema in Infants

Infants under the age of 2 show the following symptoms:

  • Rash on scalp and cheek
  • Itchy skin due to skin rash
  • Rash that leaks fluid

Symptoms of Eczema in Children

Children of age 2 and above show the following symptoms:

  • Bumpy rash
  • Thickening of skin
  • Rash that changes colour
  • Creases of elbows and knees are the most affected area
  • Rash on buttocks and legs

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms 

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis materialize as follows: 

  • Skin changes colour in the rash area
  • Rash in the crease of elbows and knees
  • The skin might get thicker
  • The appearance of rash following scratching
  • Fluid-filled small bumps

Contact Dermatitis Symptoms 

Its symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy skin (sometimes stings)
  • Hives formation
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Thickening of skin 
  • Scaly raised patches of skin

 Hand Eczema Symptoms

Symptoms are as follows:

  • Red, itchy and dry hands
  • Cracks
  • Blisters
  • Scaly skin

Nummular Eczema Symptoms

  • Round, oval, or coin-shaped spots on the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Scaly spots

Dyshidrotic Eczema Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Scaly and flaky skin with cracks
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • The fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet show blisters
  • Itching
  • Blisters may hurt

Neurodermatitis Symptoms

  • Red, raised patches on the skin
  • Patches are often scaly and might thicken
  • Bleeding might occur in case of scratching
  • Itching
  • Arms, legs, scalp, soles of feet, and genitals are the most affected area

Stasis Dermatitis Symptoms

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis are:

  • Swelling of lower legs
  • Varicose veins
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Aching legs after walking
  • Sore on lower legs
  • Pain in feet

Types of Eczema

There are primarily seven types of eczema based on their chemistry:

  1. Atopic Dermatitis

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It forms a triad along with hay fever and asthma. It is triggered in childhood with mild symptoms. Atopic eczema usually occurs alongside asthma and hay fever. It is usually chronic.

  1. Contact Dermatitis

The name itself describes this type. Contact dermatitis is caused by a reaction to touch stimuli. 

  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis is an immune system reaction to allergens such as latex or metal.

  • Irritant Contact Dermatitis is the reaction to a chemical or substance irritant on the skin.

  1. Hand Eczema

Hand eczema as the name suggests only affects the hands. It can be triggered by the regular use of chemicals that irritate the skin.

  1. Nummular Eczema

Nummular comes from the Latin ‘nummulus’, which means shaped like a coin. In this type of eczema, oval or coin-shaped spots appear on the skin. Appearance-wise, nummular eczema is the most different type of eczema and causes severe itching.

  1. Dyshidrotic Eczema

It is differentiated by blisters on the hands and feet. Women are more affected than men.

  1. Neurodermatitis

It is similar to atopic dermatitis. Red, scaly, and thick skin are signs of neurodermatitis.

  1. Stasis Dermatitis

Leaking of fluid out of weakened veins into the skin. This results in redness, itching, swelling, and pain.

Causes of Eczema

Eczema usually develops in a child’s first year. Some outgrow their eczema, but in some cases, eczema worsens in adulthood. 

Eczema can pave the way to many other skin infections such as warts. 

Atopic Dermatitis Causes

A thin barrier of the skin causes atopic dermatitis. Thin skin allows the infection to take root and often causes more allergic reactions and irritation. The likely cause is:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental triggers
  • Weak immune system
  • Dry skin

Contact Dermatitis Causes

Many substances can cause a reaction and irritate the skin. The most common causes are:

  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Latex
  • Metal
  • Paint
  • Jewellery
  • Poison ivy
  • Perfumes
  • Tobacco smoke

Hand Eczema Causes

Since it is caused by chemical irritants, people who are in direct contact with such substances are likely to get hand eczema such as;

  • Hairdressers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Dry cleaners
  • Janitors and Cleaners

Nummular Eczema Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Insect bite
  • Allergic reaction to metals or chemicals
  • Dry skin
  • Atopic Dermatitis

Dyshidrotic Eczema Causes

It has a combination of causes:

  • Stress
  • Nickel, cobalt, or chromium salt exposure 
  • Allergy
  • Damp hands and feet

Neurodermatitis Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Stress
  • Environmental factors
  • As a secondary disorder in reaction to other eczema or psoriasis

Stasis Dermatitis Causes

The most likely causes are:

  • Blood flow problems
  • Malfunctioning of valves
  • The pooling of blood in the veins of the legs

Risk Factors of Eczema

Following are some of the common risk factors of eczema:

  • Living in extremely cold climates
  • Being born by a mother who is older in age
  • Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke 
  • Having a high birth weight 
  • Several environmental factors such as pollens or animal dander
  • Indoor air
  • Food allergies
  • Intake of hard water as a child 
  • Family history 

Health Complications of Eczema 

Eczema is a medical condition in which the skin becomes red and itchy. Although it is more prevalent in children yet it can occur at any age. Given below are some of the complications that are associated with this disease. 

  1. Asthma and Hay Fever

More than half of young people tend to develop asthma, hay fever, and other respiratory problems if they are suffering from eczema. 

  1. Chronic Itching, Scaling Of the Skin

Continuous irritation can lead to serious itching problems. Scratching can make your skin worse. The skin can become discolored, thick, and leathery. 

  1. Skin Infections 

Itching and irritation can lead to the sore formation and wounds. This also increases the chance of bacterial, viral, and fungal skin infections

  1. Hand Dermatitis 

People whose hands are highly exposed to the constant or prolonged use of harsh soaps or detergents, mostly suffer from hand dermatitis. 

  1. Contact Dermatitis 

People who suffer from atopic dermatitis have more chance of developing this health complication. 

  1. Sleep Apnea

Due to the constant urge of itching, the sleep cycle of a person can be seriously disturbed and it can lead to sleep apnea.



Preventive measures can be taken to manage the symptoms of eczema:

  • Applying moisturizer twice a day to retain moisture in the skin.
  • Avoid scratching the skin.
  • Use hypoallergenic products that are less likely to flare up eczema.
  • Avoid tight clothes. Wear loose, soft-fibered clothes.
  • Always protect your skin with gloves and protective gear when handling chemicals and volatile substances.
  • Don’t rub the skin, gently blot it.
  • Apply cool compresses to the skin to relieve the itch.


A lab test is not needed to diagnose eczema. A thorough review of medical history and physical examination of the skin is enough to give a diagnosis. 

A patch test may be done to determine other skin conditions.

Treatment of Eczema | When to Consult a Doctor

No definite cure is available for eczema. The best possible treatment aims to minimize the symptoms.

The age, symptoms, and current state of health determine the treatment plan. 

  1. Home Remedies 

To relieve symptoms, certain approaches can be taken at home:

  • Moisturizing the skin
  • Lukewarm baths
  • Avoiding tight, rough clothes
  • Using hypoallergenic soaps and detergents
  • Gently patting the skin to dry
  • Avoid scratching and rubbing the skin
  • Using a humidifier in cold, dry weather
  • Avoiding eczema triggers
  1. Medications

Several medications are used to treat eczema.

  • Topical Corticosteroids

These are used in the form of creams and ointments. They are anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic. They are applied directly to the skin.

  • Systemic Corticosteroids

These are available in oral or injection form in case the topical treatments don’t minimize the symptoms. They are used for a short period. 

  • Antibiotics

If a bacterial infection is associated with eczema, antibiotics are used.

  • Antiviral and Antifungal

A fungal and viral infection alongside eczema is treated with these medications.

  • Antihistamines

These reduce the risk of scratching and are most often used for hives alongside eczema.

  • Moisturizers

Barrier repair moisturizers are used to reduce water loss, lock in moisture, and repair the skin.

  • Anti-inflammatory Medication

Topical calcineurin inhibitors decrease inflammation by suppressing immunoglobulin E.

  • Phototherapy

To treat moderate eczema, the skin is exposed to UVA and UVB waves.

(Note: All medication is to be taken as prescribed by the doctor)

Eczema can be a lifelong condition which means that it needs to be treated immediately to relieve the symptoms. 

In case of any concerning signs and symptoms, you need to visit a certified dermatologist.