Generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin, particularly with vesiculation in the acute stage, typically erythematous, edematous, papular, and crusting; followed often by lichenification and scaling and occasionally by duskiness of the erythema and, infrequently, hyperpigmentation; often accompanied by sensations of itching and burning; the vesicles form by intraepidermal spongiosis; often hereditary and associated with allergic rhinitis and asthma. [G. fr. ekzeo, to boil over]
- atopic e. SYN: atopic dermatitis.
- baker e. allergic e. due to contact with flour, yeast, or other ingredients handled by bakers.
- chronic e. SYN: lichenoid e..
- dyshidrotic e. SYN: dyshidrosis.
- e. erythematosum a dry form of e. marked by extensive areas of redness with scaly desquamation.
- flexural e. e. of skin at the flexures of elbow, knees, wrists, etc., associated with atopy persisting through childhood.
- hand e. e. that predominantly and persistently affects the hands; of multiple causation, including allergic, industrial, irritant, dyshidrotic, bacterial, and atopic mechanisms; distinguished from chapped hands by the presenc of vesiculation or spongiosis.
- e. herpeticum a febrile condition caused by cutaneous dissemination of herpesvirus type 1, occurring most commonly in children, consisting of a widespread eruption of vesicles rapidly becoming umbilicated pustules; clinically indistinguishable from a generalized vaccinia. The two may be distinguished by electron microscopy or demonstration of inclusion bodies in smears, which are intranuclear in e. herpeticum and intracytoplasmic in e. vaccinatum. SYN: pustulosis vacciniformis acuta.
- infantile e. e. in infants; the clinical appearance varies according to the dominant causative mechanism, e.g., contact-type hypersensitivity, candidiasis, atopy, seborrhea, or a combination including intertrigo and diaper dermatitis.
- lichenoid e. thickening of skin with accentuated skin lines in e.. SYN: chronic e..
- nummular e. discrete, coin-shaped patches of e.. SYN: nummular dermatitis.
- e. papulosum a dermatitis marked by an eruption of discrete or aggregated reddish excoriated papules.
- e. parasiticum eczematous eruption precipitated by parasite infestation.
- e. pustulosum a later stage of vesicular e., in which the vesicles have become secondarily infected; the lesions become covered with purulent crusts.
- seborrheic e. SYN: seborrheic dermatitis.
- stasis e. eczematous eruption on legs due to or aggravated by vascular stasis.
- tropical e. e. occurring in plaques on extensors of the extremities; of common occurrence and unknown etiology.
- e. tyloticum hyperkeratotic dyshidrosis.
- varicose e. e. occurring over areas in which the skin has been compromised by varicosities.
- e. verrucosum e. with hyperkeratosis; chronic lichenified e..
- e. vesiculosum dermatitis marked by an eruption of vesicles upon erythematous patches that rupture and exude serum.
- weeping e. a moist, eczematous dermatitis.
- winter e. e. resulting from accelerated evaporation of moisture (including insensitive sweat) from the cutaneous surface; occurs as dry crackled plaques, usually on the extremities, but not infrequently also on the trunk in any season under circumstances (occupational, environmental) of excessively rapid drying out of the skin.

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ec·ze·ma ig-'zē-mə, 'eg-zə-mə, 'ek-sə- n an inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by redness, itching, and oozing vesicular lesions which become scaly, crusted, or hardened
ec·zem·a·tous ig-'zem-ət-əs adj

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a common itchy skin disease characterized by reddening (erythema) and vesicle formation, which may lead to weeping and crusting. It is endogenous, or constitutional, i.e. outside agents do not play a primary role (compare dermatitis), but in some contexts the terms 'dermatitis' and 'eczema' are used interchangeably. There are five main types: (1) atopic eczema, which affects up to 20% of the population and is associated with asthma and hay fever; (2) seborrhoeic eczema (or seborrhoeic dermatitis), which involves the scalp, eyelids, nose, and lips, is associated with the presence of Pityrosporum yeasts and is especially common in patients with AIDS; (3) discoid (or nummular) eczema, which is characterized by coin-shaped lesions and occurs only in adults; (4) pompholyx, affecting the palms and soles; (5) gravitational (or stasis) eczema, associated with poor venous circulation and incorrectly known as varicose eczema.
Treatment of eczema is with topical or systemic corticosteroids but emollients are very important, especially in treating mild cases. Newer treatments include PUVA or ciclosporin.
eczematous adj.

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ec·ze·ma (ekґzə-mə) [Gr. ekzein to boil out] any of various pruritic, papulovesicular types of dermatitis occurring as reactions to endogenous or exogenous agents. In acute types there may be erythema, edema, inflammatory infiltrates in the dermis, vesiculation, crusting, and scaling. In chronic types there may be lichenification, skin thickening, signs of excoriation; and areas of hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. The most common type is atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis). Called also eczematous dermatitis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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