Can Eczema Spread? Understanding the Facts

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by red, itchy, and dry skin that can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. While there is no cure for eczema, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and prevent outbreaks. Contrary to popular belief, eczema is not contagious.

You cannot pass it on to another person through contact or breathing. It is not caused by poor hygiene or bad health habits, and it does not mean that the skin is dirty or infected. Eczema is a chronic condition, which means it cannot be cured, but treatments are very effective in reducing the symptoms of dry and itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema (sometimes called “atopic eczema”), is the result of an overactive immune system that causes the skin barrier to dry and itch.

It is not transmitted from person to person. It can spread to different parts of the body, but not by contact. Many people with eczema often report comorbid symptoms of hay fever, allergic asthma, and food allergies. Proper and consistent skin care is essential in the prevention and treatment of eczema.

There are genetic, immunological and environmental factors that play a role in eczema. Eczema may appear red on lighter skin, while people of color may experience eczema such as ashen skin, gray skin, darker brown or purple. Many people with eczema use the phrase “outbreak” to describe a phase of eczema when they experience one or more acute symptoms. Moisturizers, antihistamines, topical steroid creams, and corticosteroids are among the possible courses of eczema treatments generally recommended by healthcare providers, dermatologists, and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

According to the National Eczema Association, about 31.6 million people in the United States, or about 10 percent of the U. S. population, have some form of eczema. Skin that becomes infected with the herpes simplex virus (the virus that causes cold sores) is called herpetic eczema. Seborrheic dermatitis (also known as seborrheic eczema) can cause scaly patches and red skin on the scalp. If you are concerned that you have contracted an infection on someone else's skin, ask a doctor to check it out, as other conditions such as scabies and ringworm can sometimes look like eczema. Eczema itself is not contagious; there is no way that being around someone with eczema will suddenly cause you to develop that skin condition.

Some common points for an attack are the hands, feet, the inside of the elbows, behind the knees, and the face or ears, but eczema can affect any part of the body. There is no cure for eczema but most people can control their symptoms if they are treated and avoid irritants. Talk to your health care provider about your questions about the type of skin condition you have. Treatments for one may not work for the other. Be sure to avoid triggers, hydrate, take your medicine, and do anything else that your healthcare provider recommends. If you do not have a food allergy, then there are no foods including chicken that cause or worsen your eczema.

There may be times when eczema goes away; this is known as the “remission period” while other times you may have an “outbreak” which is when it gets worse. The goal of treatment is to prevent these outbreaks preventing symptoms from getting worse. See your dermatologist or other health care provider as soon as you notice symptoms; explore home remedies and prescription treatments.

Riya Hutchings
Riya Hutchings

On a quest to combat Contact Dermatitis!