The term "eczematous dermatitis of the hands" or "hand eczema" will be used here in the widest possible sense, namely, embracing all kinds of dermoepidermitides on hands and fingers with spongiosis in the epidermis. This is a heterogeneous group, including at least two very different diseases, contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, which periodically may be restricted to hands and fingers. The definition also includes "nummular eczema," regarded by many as a separate entity, distinct from both contact and atopic dermatitis, and sometimes suspected of being of microbic origin. There is, furthermore, the difficult question whether to include here the dysidrosiform eruptions of the palmar surfaces and side surfaces of fingers. Clinically, dysidrosis, of course, is very different from eczematous changes in other regions. However, microscopically they display spongiosis and are often associated with eczematous changes of the dorsal surfaces. One school
FERGUSON EH, ROTHMAN S. Synthetic Detergents and Eczematous Hand Eruptions. AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(3):300–310. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archderm.1959.01560210042009
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