Eczema is a term that refers to a group of inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema and lichen simplex are all in the eczema family. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is defined as eczema occuring in a patient with personal or family history of allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. It is also the most common chronic illness in children. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease characterized by itching, an impaired epithelial barrier, inflammation, significant bacterial colonization with frequent infections, and a clinical course punctuated by flares and remissions. There is no universal consensus for the meaning of the term atopy, although it is often used to refer to an inherited tendency to develop allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever, and AD (the atopic triad.)
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