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Asthmatic Bronchitis: Childhood Asthma
Eczema is a generalized term that encompasses various inflammatory skin conditions. It is used synonymously with the term "Dermatitis" which means superficial inflammation of the skin (epidermis) that can be acute, chronic and recurring; can have a number of causes. Atopic dermatitis is another term used to define eczema.
Eczema is characterized by very distinctive reactive patterns of the skin, as discussed below.
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin which is characterized by dryness, flakiness, heat and, probably most importantly, itching. Eczema can occur on just about any part of the body; however, in infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck. Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. There may be some amount of hyperpigmentation of the affected parts. In children and adults, eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In some people, the itchy rash can produce an oozing and crusting. In others, the condition may appear more scaly, dry, and red. Chronic scratching causes the skin to take on a leathery texture because the skin has thickened (lichenification).
Causes of Eczema
It is difficult to determine the exact cause of eczema as there are many different types of eczema and each has its own causes. Largely, the cause of atopic (endogenous) eczema is genetic (inherited). Atopy usually runs in the family and there is a family history of one or more disorders like asthma, hay fever, urticaria, food allergies, etc. A person who has atopic eczema is more likely to develop allergic reactions to many other things as well.. The causes of certain types of eczema remain to be explained, though links with environmental factors and stress are being explored.
- 1. Genetic components (Makes proneness to eczema)
- 2. Environmental factors (Triggers and maintains eczema)
Fundamentally, the caused of Eczema could be understood as:
- Contact with irritants such as detergents, soaps, certain clothing or shoes, metal compounds (nickel, mercury, etc), dyes, cosmetic preparations (deodorants, nail paints, etc), topical creams, rubber, leather, resins, etc.
- Exposure to sunlight.
- Napkin rash in infants.
There are many causes of exogenous eczema and following are the few common ones:
Causes of Asthma in Children
Extrinsic (External) factors responsible for Childhood Asthma
They comprise of a wide range of allergies, which include allergens such as food allergens, pollutants (industrial pollution), chemicals (pest control), environmental factors (pollen, dust mites, cats, cockroaches, fungi, smoke, etc.), temperature intolerance (affected by the change in the atmospheric temperature). Physical exertion or exercise is known to induce an asthmatic episode. Certain infections such as viral, bacterial or fungal infections often lead to asthmatic breathing.
Intrinsic (Internal) factors causing Asthma in Children
The extrinsic factors alone cannot produce asthma, as not every one who is exposed to the pollen develops asthma. Again, not everyone who is allergic to pollen develops asthma! This means, the very individual susceptibility is probably the most important aspect when we try to understand the causative factors responsible for childhood asthma. In other words, asthma is not merely a disease of the lungs but of the immune system. The asthmatic episode is an outcome of the fundamental tendency or the susceptibility, which is genetically determined. (This is also true with a wide range of diseases.) Hereditary influences also decide the predisposition to asthma as children with a family history of asthma or allergy or eczema are more prone to asthma as compared to their counterpart who do not have such a family history.
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