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Is Eczema Contagious?

Updated on August 7, 2011

Eczema, often misspelled as ecema, is a skin condition that causes patches of dry skin and rashes. This condition is related to allergies and asthma. Is eczema contagious?

Often, some family members will break out in eczema rashes at the same time of year. Some people may confuse a common occurrence of several individuals in a family having eczema rashes at the same time as a sign that eczema is contagious.

However, eczema is not contagious. The eczema flare ups in family members is due to the fact that eczema is a hereditary condition. Therefore, many family members may be born with a susceptibility to developing eczema rashes.

Eczema is caused by an overactive, oversensitive immune system response. Many people don't realize that these conditions are related, but asthma and allergies are also caused by this type of immune system response.

Families affected by asthma, allergies, or eczema often have many family members with one or more of these medical conditions. For example, several people have either asthma, allergies, or eczema in my family, but some family members have two of these conditions.

None of those conditions are contagious. But someone who doesn't know about these hypersensitive immune system responses might think so if some family members have eczema rashes at the same time.

Video Explaining Hereditary Eczema

With these conditions, the body mistakes a harmless substance as a potential threat. The immune system reacts to this substance as if it were a threat. This triggers the allergic response which can take the form of tightened and inflamed airways causing an asthma attack, itchiness and flaking of the skin causing an eczema rash, or raised, red welts known as hives.

There are no permanent cures for any of these conditions. Some people have had long-term success with a series of allergy injections for treating a specific allergy, but those results are not permanent. The return of the allergy symptoms and the need for another series of injections typically occurs three to five years after the last injection.

Like the other conditions, eczema is a chronic, long-term condition. People can reduce the frequency and severity of eczema flare ups by keeping the skin hydrated. This is usually done by applying a hypoallergenic moisturizing lotion at least once daily.

If the person applies the lotion after patting the skin mostly dry with a towel after bathing, a good quality lotion or cream will help hold the moisture into the skin. A dermatologist recommended applying a small amount of Crisco shortening in this manner. It works great, but the greasiness can be annoying.

I hate the fact that two of my children have eczema, but I am glad that at least I knew how to treat it and keep flare ups under control. This is the nature of genetic conditions. A parent may regret that their children have developed the disorder, but at least the parent may understand what the child goes through and can help them to cope with the condition.

A friend of mine has an informative website about eczema and its causes. Please visit her article called What Causes Eczema? for more information. Thank you.


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    • profile image

      Reena J 

      7 years ago

      Must read one! Thanks for the hub...


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