Even in adult life, between two and 10 per cent of the population will, at some, time, experience about of eczema, although it is usually less severe.
Yet despite the prevalence of the condition there is an enormous amount of ignorance surrounding it.
Eczema is the general name given to a number of conditions which make the skin inflamed and uncomfortable and can be triggered by an enormous number of things, including food, chemicals, allergies, stress and the environment - but it is not infectious.
Gwynneth and her husband Simon have a daughter Molly, aged 21 months, who has suffered from eczema since she was five weeks old. "Even before she could scratch, Molly would lie in her cot and rub her face on the sheets," says Gwynneth.
Gwynneth and Simon, with the help of a supportive GP and their families, did everything they could to make Molly more comfortable. They bought 100 per cent cotton clothing (even the thread used to sew the garment must be cotton), experimented with different kinds of nappies, creams and ointments, and tried to keep Molly away from potential allergens.
Molly is a particularly happy and tolerant child, who now applies her own creams, and her ebullience helped Gwynneth and Simon through the worst times. But they know how far-reaching the effects of eczema can be. Few people appreciate the financial cost of finding clothes, shoes and bedding that won't make the condition worse.
Some families take up all the carpets and replace furniture to remove the threat of dust-mite allergies. Sometimes pets have to go.
Gwynneth says: "I used to get very angry about eczema because there is no definite cure, it's all a question of trial and effort."
The National Eczema Society in Britain has a range of fact sheets, booklets, guides and reports about eczema, including guidelines for employers.
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.