The terms eczema or dermatitis are used to describe certain kinds of inflamed skin conditions including allergic contact dermatitis and nummular dermatitis.
The word "atopic" means there is a tendency for excess inflammation in the skin and linings of the nose and lungs. This often runs in families with allergies such as hay fever and asthma, sensitive skin, or a history of atopic dermatitis.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body's immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of the disease.
Serum IgE levels are frequently elevated.
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