Eczema is a generalized term which describes several different conditions. Conditions which are often grouped together as eczema include allergic contact dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, dyshidrotic dermatitis, and atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis often begins in infancy and causes severe itching along with a red, patchy, dry rash. Dyshidrotic eczema usually begins with small water blisters on the hands and feet. Whatever the type, eczema can be unsightly, itchy and painful. Eczema may affect any area of your skin but typically appears on your arms and behind your knees. The cause of eczema is unknown but it may result from a combination of inherited tendencies for sensitive skin and malfunction in 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 infection. Common medications include topical creams and ointments, skin hydration instruction and sometime antibiotics.