What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a general term for dry, itchy, inflamed skin. Most eczema in children is caused by atopic dermatitis, a type of skin inflammation often caused by allergies. Eczema is the most common chronic skin disorder found in children.


Common symptoms of eczema include:

  • dry, scaly skin
  • redness and swelling of the skin
  • small bumps on the skin
  • raw and sensitive skin
  • hardening and thickening of the skin


Eczema is usually diagnosed by a physical examination.


Medications can help reduce the symptoms of eczema. These may include:

  • steroid creams and ointments
  • antibiotics
  • antihistamines to reduce itching
  • oral steroids

Learn more about Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy, Immunology and Sleep services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.