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What Does Atopic Dermatitis Have to Do with Eczema?

Aug 17, 2007
Many people are affected by Atopic Dermatitis; this disease is characterized by inflamed skin and itchiness and primarily affects the face, the bend of the elbow, and the back of the knee. In worst cases, the majority of the body can be covered. The word atopic was originally used in conjunction with hay fever and asthma.

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is typically seen in people who suffer from or have family members who suffer from these allergies and it is not a contagious disease. Chances of children getting Atopic Dermatitis correlate with their parents, meaning that heredity is a major factor in diagnosis, symptoms usually appear in babies as a scaly skin which is dry and itchy. Scratching can open the skin leaving sores. Gender and race do not seem to play roles in the disease.

Eczema and AD
Any inflammation of the skin is covered by the term eczema, the most severe eczema is AD. Usually when people say eczema, they are actually referring to AD. Other forms of eczema include: allergic contact dermatitis, Dishydrotic Eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis. Common symptoms include inflammation (characterized by slight swelling and reddish tint) and itching. Blistering, peeling, and draining fluids can be seen in some forms, especially during severe flare ups.

What is causing my flare ups?

AD usually manifests itself through triggers, which may be environmental irritants, allergens, stress (both physical and emotional), and heat (which induces sweating). Triggers should be avoided to reduce flare-ups.

Irritants are usually man made products and irritate the skin on contact, allergens include: certain proteins found in food, pets, or pollen. Upon exposure to triggers, cells that produce inflammation develop in the skin. Scratching worsens the condition as does rubbing.

Climate seems to play a role as temperatures that are very cold, very hot or change suddenly often cause flare ups. Heat and humidity tend to induce sweating which can trigger flare ups while cold temperatures with less humidity can cause dry skin, which induces itching and cause a flare up. Likewise, raises the temperature of the body, inducing sweating. Showering as soon as you finish exercising and using a good moisturizer will help combat flare ups that normally occur from sweating.

There is also something to be said about the liquid intake rule: drink your eight ounces of water every day. Your body needs the fluid to improve its performance, whether that performance if helping to keep the body hydrated or it is removing toxins. Both functions of fluid intake apply to your eczema, so drinking your eight ounces is even more beneficial to you than to other people.

How do I combat it? Flare ups cannot be completely avoided, but they can be minimized through recognizing and avoiding your triggers, keeping the skin clean and dry, and using plenty of moisturizer will also help. When flare ups do occur, it is important to follow through with doctors care. Typical treatments include:

Topical Treatment, Cortisone creams which are applied to the surface of the inflamed skin are the most prescribed treatment. However, there is a new class of topical treatment: Topical Immunomodulators (TIMs), which are non steroidal. These slow the inflammation but inhibiting the skin's ability to respond to various triggers.

Phototherapy; Ultraviolet light in the form of laser or sunlamps are used in conjunction with an ointment applied to the skin before treating with UV rays.

How can I manage eczema?

Although eczema can be debilitating, it does not usually have to be. Through treatment and prevention, you will be able to live a fairly normal life. Some simple steps to use in order to help minimize flare up include:

How can I manage eczema?

Although eczema can be debilitating, it does not usually have to be. Through treatment and prevention, you will be able to live a fairly normal life. Some simple steps to use in order to help minimize flare up include:

Proper Skin Care, regular bathing in warm water, using mild soap, and plenty of moisturizer afterward will help keep irritants and allergens off the skin as well as helping combat dry skin. In addition to morning, night, and after bathing moisturizers should be applied when skin feels dry or itchy throughout the day.

Manage Emotional Stress, First, you must recognize stress when it starts. Then proper management should be used. Enroll in a therapy program with a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist, this person will also be able to teach you some relaxation techniques. Support groups are a great tool for stress relief as well.

Do not scratch! One way to avoid this is to keep your hands and mind busy. Studies report that more people scratch during idle time than any other time in their day.

Reduce the allergens and irritants that you come up with as much as possible.
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