Here are 10 facts you may not know about eczema that you can use to impress your friends! …Or more likely will be used when you have already said every cuss in the book and you need something else to mutter to yourself while dealing with that annoying rash that itches.
1. "Ekzein"Eczema comes from the Greek word “ekzein” meaning “to boil over”.
2. Worldwide Disease
It is estimated that eczema affects roughly 20% of children and 1-3% of adults worldwide.
3. Eczema Is on the riseSince 1970, the prevalence of eczema has almost tripled. From 2000 – 2010 alone, the prevalence of eczema in children (younger than eighteen) living in the United States rose roughly 5%. See a break down here.
4. Eczema is not contagious
Contrary to overwhelming fear and misconception, if someone touches you with eczema you will not acquire this itchy, red, rash too. Of course in turn, if you have eczema you won’t pass it on to anyone else. This isn’t the plague, guys.
5. It's GeneticEczema is seen in families with a history of asthma and hay fever. Asthma, hay fever and eczema are all atopic diseases (the three of them are known as the Atopic Triad). Atopy refers to an inherited tendency to produces an antibody (known as immuglobulin E) in response to common enviromental protiens such as dust mites, pollen, and food allergens. It is estimated that half of all children with eczema will develop asthma or hay fever as well.
6. A Children's DiseaseEczema is most prevalent in children, with 1 in 5 children being affected. Over half of all sufferers display symptoms before their first birthday, with roughly 74% of children ‘growing out of’ the disease by their sixteenth birthday.
7. There are Several Kinds
There are several different types of eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis: The most common kind of eczema, frequently associated with allergic disorders. Characterized by chronic red, itchy inflammation of the skin.
- Contact dermatitis: Red itchy rash, a reaction caused by a substance that comes in contact with the skin.
- Dyshidrotic or Pompholyx eczema: A condition where very small, (sometimes deep-seated) fluid-filled blisters form on the palm of the hands, in between fingers, or on the soles of the feet.
- Neurodermatitis: Starting as a patch of itchy skin, itching causes skin to become thick and leathery due to chronic itching.
- Nummular dermatitis: A chronic condition where coin shaped spots develop on the skin. Itchy and well defined, these spots may ooze and weep.
- Stasis dermatitis: An inflammatory disease occuring in the lower extremeties, where blood pools in either one or both legs. Pressure makes fluid leak out of the veins, into the skin.
8. There Is No Medical CureWhile steroid creams and treatments help manage eczema and control symptoms, at this point in time there is no medical cure.
9. Immunodeficiency Indicator
While not everyone who has eczema has an autoimmune disease, skin disease such as eczema and psoriasis are often one of the earliest symptoms to primary immunodeficiency diseases. Primary immunodeficiency diseases are a group of chronic disorders where the body’s immune system does not function properly.
NOTE: Once again, eczema can be found in people with normal immune systems too!
See an entire breakdown here.
10. Some Food can make eczema worse
There are many triggers when it comes to eczema, with food being a large one. While the diet and eczema link is often overlooked, food sensitivities can play a large role in flare ups and worsening symptoms. NOTE: Food allergies and sensitivites are different. This may play a large part in the misconception about the diet/eczema link. If food allergy tests come back negative, people presume the food isn’t connected to the itchy rash. In reality, you don’t have to be allergic to react to trigger foods.
Top triggers for eczema include:
- Gluten & Wheat
- Peanuts & Tree nuts
While those are the top triggers, everyone is different. What may affect me, will do nothing to you and vice versa. This is why it’s essential to keep a food diary to figure out your triggers as there have been reports of people reacting to anything from night shades to herbal tea!
There we have it! 10 eczema facts that, lets face it – probably won’t impress your friends…but hey! At least you know more about eczema, right?
Health & Happiness,