ECZEMA is a skin disease. The first sign of Atopic Dermatitis tends to be patches of dry or red, itchy skin. Scratching the skin damages its surface and can worsen the rash.
Sometimes, eczema is called atopic dermatitis. It usually begins very early in life. It is common in infants and young children, and most people who get eczema will have it before they turn five years old. It is rare for Atopic Dermatitis to appear for the first time as an adult.
Eczema tends to come and go, often without warning. A treatment plan that includes skin care can reduce flare-ups and ease much of the discomfort.
No one knows for sure what causes Atopic Dermatitis. Dermatologists and other scientists are studying possible causes. We do know that eczema is not contagious. This means that your child did not catch eczema from anyone and cannot give it to anyone.
Scientists also know that a child is more likely to get eczema if a parent or another family member has eczema, asthma, or hay fever. This means that genes may play a role in causing Atopic Dermatitis. Other factors that seem to contribute to a child developing Atopic Dermatitis are living in an urban area and/or living in a cold or dry climate.
A dermatologist can often diagnose Atopic Dermatitis by looking at the child’s skin. The dermatologist will look closely at the dry, scaly patches and/or rash. Your dermatologist also may ask some questions, such as when the dry, scaly patches first appeared and whether any close blood relatives have eczema, hay fever, or asthma. This is often all that is necessary to diagnose Atopic Dermatitis.
If allergy testing is necessary, your dermatologist will tell you.
A dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs. Most treatment plans consist of:
It is important to follow the treatment plan prescribed by your dermatologist. Too often, people try to treat eczema on their own by avoiding what they believe is causing the Atopic Dermatitis. Successfully managing this condition requires following a treatment plan.
This is light therapy and may be added to a treatment plan when stronger treatment is needed.
These products help to decrease dryness and scaling, so the skin feels more comfortable. Applying one of these after bathing and frequently throughout the day can help. Harsh soaps should be avoided.
Your dermatologist can recommend products to use or avoid.
Applied to the skin, this medicine helps to calm the skin and relieve itching. You can buy some of them without a prescription. However, since there can be side effects from using too much medicine or using it too often, it is best to see what your dermatologist recommends. Some patients need a prescription-strength corticosteroid.
This medicine may be prescribed when eczema causes severe itching. Constant itching can cause many sleepless nights. Sedating antihistamines can help patients get the sleep they need.
If your child develops an infection, an antibiotic, either taken by mouth or applied to the skin, can kill the bacteria causing the infection.