About Eczema: Symptoms and Complications

Atopic dermatitis appears as red, itchy, dry skin. It tends to first appear in childhood, and may disappear completely before adulthood. It most often affects the area behind the knees and around the elbows, as well as the face. In infants, it often appears on the chest, scalp and neck. Sufferers of this disease have often developed cataracts by their 30s. It's unclear whether this results from the disease itself or from the corticosteroids that are sometimes used to treat it. Atopic patients who contract the herpes simplex virus can be struck by eczema herpeticum, a dangerous fever.

Seborrhoea in adults is dandruff. In babies, it can form a thick yellow flaky rash on the scalp. In severe cases, bacteria can build up in fatty deposits, producing an unpleasant odour.

Nummular eczema appears as itchy, red and weepy coin-shaped areas on the limbs and trunk.

Contact dermatitis usually causes a dry, red rash. The area involved may be a clue to the responsible allergen or irritant. The worst forms of allergic contact dermatitis, such as severe latex condom reactions, can kill if a person isn't treated in time for the anaphylactic shock they can bring on.

Varicose eczema appears as inflamed scaly skin around the lower legs and ankles. Over time, it may turn dark brown.

A rare and severe form of eczema called statis dermatitis can result in bacterial infection and chronic ulceration. If left untreated, this condition can lead to potentially dangerous complications, such as cellulitis, which can be life-threatening.

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