WHAT IS ATOPIC DERMATITIS?
Atopic Dermatitis, or eczema, is a common skin disease affecting over 15 million American adults and children. It is a chronic skin condition that predominantly affects infants and young children but may last through adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by itchy, red and irritated patches. In severe cases the skin can blister and weep, however eczema can also be dry and scaly or even cause a thickening of the skin. Atopic Dermatitis can occur anywhere on the body but often affects the skin folds, the arms and legs, and especially in adults, the hands.
WHAT CAUSES ATOPIC DERMATITIS?
It is an inherited condition but certain environmental triggers can exacerbate the condition. Some of these include diet, stress, allergens or irritants, temperature extremes or acute infections.
HOW IS ATOPIC DERMATITIS TREATED?
The most important aspect of the management of eczema is consistently following a good skin care routine. It is important to take brief baths or showers with lukewarm water, avoiding irritants (as determined by your doctor) and harsh soaps, minimizing stress and most important- applying an emollient daily.
Other treatments involve topical steroids, topical immunomodulators, oral antibiotics and antihistamines, and in severe cases phototherapy or other oral anti-inflammatory agents.