Eczema is a common skin disorder. The word eczema is a general term that refers to an inflammation of the skin that produces an area of itching and redness. The area may even blister, weep, peel or flake. Like asthma and hay fever, eczema is considered an allergic illness although it can also be activated by emotional stress. An eczema flare-up occurs when the skin is exposed to an irritant or allergen. Special cells involved in the body’s immune system recognize the allergen and release chemicals that cause the itching and redness on the skin. Further damage can occur when the affected area is scratched. In order to lessen the frequency and severity of flare-ups, the skin should be kept moist and well protected from irritants and allergens. Management by a physician will also help to control and lessen symptoms.