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How do you get eczema?

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Quick Answer

Although the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, many sufferers inherit a tendency to develop eczema, usually when a family member has asthma or hay fever, according to the Eczema Association. Around 80 percent of children with eczema go on to develop asthma or hay fever. Eczema triggers can worsen eczema, causing an eczema flare or worsening the condition.

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There are many eczema triggers that sufferers must watch for, including irritants, allergens, microbes, hot or cold temperatures, foods, stress and hormones. The NEA warns that many soaps, detergents, dishwashing liquids, shampoos and bubble bath products can serve as irritants that trigger eczema symptoms. Disinfectants such as chlorine can also irritate the skin and cause a flare or worsen an ongoing flare.

Exposure to allergens can also cause an eczema reaction. House dust mites, seasonal pollen, pet dander, dandruff and mold can all be to blame for flares, according to the NEA. Microbes, including certain fungi, viruses and bacterium such as Staphylococcus Aureus may also play a part in inflaming eczema. Hot weather, low or high humidity and perspiration resulting from exercise can also cause irritation. Food allergens can bring on a flare, including dairy products, eggs, seeds, nuts, wheat and soy products. Stress can affect eczema and cause symptoms, as well.

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