Atopic Dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. In children it most often appears on the face scalp, arms, thighs, and torso. It may be worse in infancy and begin to improve by the time a child reaches five or six. Often it disappears entirely by the teenage years.
Atopic Dermatitis can also first appear in the adult years. In adults it is most evident on the neck and in the bend of elbows and knees.
Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis include an itchy, red, raised rash. Tiny blisters may develope that break and crust over. If the blisters are scratched, they become easily infected. The rash may weep or ooze clear fluid.
The cause of Atopic Dermatitis is not entirely understood. It tends to affect those who already have dry, easily irritated skin. They may also be individuals who suffer from allergies, hay fever, or asthma. Other family members may also suffer from allergies and breathing problems. Although children may seem to grow out of the dermatitis itself, they may continue to suffer allergic reactions. Atopic Dermatitis is thought to be linked to an abnormality in the immune system.
Atopic Dermatitis is diagnosed by a visual examination of the skin. It is not contagious.
If the condition is severe, constant scratching can leave the skin permanently coarsened, thickened and scarred. There may be infections caused by the constant scratching and breaking of blisters. If the condition is severe around the eyes, some vision problems may develop.
1. The use of gentle skin cleaners and the avoidance of soaps.
2. Bathing in warm, never hot, water, and patting, rather than rubbing, dry.
3. The use of a non-irritating moisturizer. Ask your pharmacist or family physician for suggestions.
4. The use of a humidifier in the home, and especially in the bedroom.
5. The use of a mild detergent when washing clothing and bedding. Rinse all laundry twice.
6. Taking an oral antihistamine to help relieve itching. Do not use antihistamine sprays or creams as they irritate the skin.
7. Avoiding the wearing of wool and scratchy fabrics.
If you cannot control the atopic dermatitis with home treatments, or you are unable to sleep because of the itching, consult your physician.