Eczema is a generalized term which describes several different conditions that cause itchy, inflamed patches of skin. Atopic dermatitis often begins in infancy and causes severe itching along with a red, patchy rash. Dyshidrotic eczema usually begins with small water blisters on the hands and feet. Whatever the type, eczema can be very uncomfortable. The cause of eczema is not fully understood, but it is thought to result from a combination of inherited tendencies for sensitive skin and overreaction of the body’s immune system. There is no cure for eczema but it can be controlled with treatment. Treatment programs are designed based on the type of eczema and individual patient needs, but are aimed at reducing inflammation, controlling itching, preventing flare-ups and clearing secondary infections.