Atopic Dermatitis in Vancouver, WA

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. 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. An estimated 80 percent of patients develop the disease before they’re 5 years old.

Atopic dermatitis is often hereditary and can be the earliest sign of allergic disease. Almost 80 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition develop allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, and/or asthma.

Infants and young children might see atopic dermatitis occurring on the face, arms, legs, and neck rather than the nose or scalp. Be careful not to confuse the condition with diaper rash, as they are typically not one and the same. For older children and adults, the problem presents itself on hands, feet, face, crook of the elbow, or behind the knee. Pale, dry skin is the norm for patients with the disease. Common triggers or factors that can make atopic dermatitis worse include:

  • Air-Born Allergens like Dust Mites or Pollen
  • Abrasive Clothing like Wool
  • Soaps
  • Stress
  • Foods
  • Detergents
  • Chemicals
  • Humidity/Temperature

A thorough medical history is imperative for determining triggers and diagnosing atopic dermatitis. Testing can help find out why it’s happening. Scratching makes it worse and can lead to infection, so both the itching and inflammation need to be treated.

Condition management involves 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, calcineurin 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


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