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Atopic Dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis (also called atopic eczema) is a non-contagious chronic allergic skin rash that usually is inflamed, red and itchy, and can be bumpy, patchy, scaly and may ooze. The itching associated with the condition usually is worse in the early evening and at night.
  • The condition affects 10 percent to 20 percent of children and 1 percent to 3 percent of adults, with approximately 80 percent of patients developing the disease before age 5.
  • Atopic dermatitis often is hereditary and can be the earliest sign of allergic disease with nearly 80 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition developing allergic rhinitis (also called hay fever) and/or asthma.
  • In infants and younger children, atopic dermatitis occurs on the face (other than the nose or scalp), neck, arms and legs. Diaper rash usually is not atopic dermatitis. In older children and adults it occurs on the hands, feet, face, crook of the elbow or behind the knee. Patients with the disease typically have dry, pale skin.
  • Common triggers of atopic dermatitis or factors that can make it worse include foods, soaps, detergents, chemicals, air-borne allergens (such as pollen or dust mites), abrasive clothing (such as wool), temperature/humidity and stress.
  • A thorough medical history is essential in diagnosing atopic dermatitis and determining triggers. Various tests also may aid in determining the cause of the condition.
  • Scratching worsens the condition and can lead to infection, so it is important to treat the itching and inflammation.
  • Management of the condition includes avoiding triggers, keeping the skin hydrated (taking 20-minute lukewarm baths followed by application of moisturizer) and using topical anti-itch or anti-inflammatory medications, including topical corticosteroids, clacineurin inhibitors, tar preparations and oral antihistamines.
  • Patients with severe cases may require additional treatment, including oral medication, wet dressings, exposure to ultraviolet light, immunotherapy (allergy shots) or other therapies. In rare cases, hospitalization may be required.
  • Patients with severe, chronic or persistent atopic dermatitis should consult a specialist, such as an allergist or dermatologist.
  • Appropriate treatment by a specialist can make remarkable difference in the life of the children affected by the Atopic dermatitis and the family of those children. Identifying the reason of the atopic dermatitis and the appropriate treatment can do these fast changes in the affected skin.

This Article is taken in whole or in part from the American college of allergy, asthma, and immunology.  For further information visit www.acaai.org