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PERSONS COMMONLY AFFECTED

  • More common in babies and children
  • Usually starts before the child’s 5th birthday
  • More common in some families with history of asthma, hay fever or allergic rhinitis, and eczemas

FEATURES

  • Rashes that are very itchy.
  • Red rashes, bumps, skin flaking, scales; rashes may come and go. Over time, it can become thickened dry skin
  • In babies, rashes are usually found on the scalp and face, especially the cheeks
  • In children and adults, rashes are usually found on the back of the neck, creases of elbows and back of the knees, wrists and ankles
  • Patients have dry skin
  • Also commonly called “skin asthma”

REASONS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • It is not contagious
  • May be hereditary
  • Food such as chicken, shrimp, and bagoong (malalangsa) do not cause atopic dermatitis

OTHER FACTORS

  • The following may worsen atopic dermatitis:
    • Heat, perspiration, dry environments
    • Emotional stress
    • Exposure to chemicals such as detergents, soap, perfume, cigarette smoke, dust

TREATMENT

  • It is very important to keep the skin moisturized to prevent flares
  • If with flare, topical steroids may be applied for limited time; If long-term control is needed, other drugs and modalities (such as phototherapy) may be prescribed by your dermatologist
  • Irritated skin may be infected and antibacterial medication may be applied or taken by mouth based on your doctor’s assessment
  • Oral antihistamines may be given to control itching

PREVENTION

  • Gentle care for the skin
    • use mild cleansers for bathing
    • avoid scrubbing
    • avoid long bath time. Limit to five to ten minutes
    • avoid using hot water because it worsens dryness
    • always apply moisturizing creams or lotions especially after bath and then re-apply several times a day, as necessary, to keep the skin hydrated
  • Keep the fingernails short to prevent scratching and traumatizing the skin
  • Always wash new clothes before wearing to remove excess dyes and chemicals which may add to itchiness of the skin
  • Avoid using heavily scented products to prevent skin irritation

WHY DO I NEED TO SEE A BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST?

  • Atopic dermatitis generally improves with age if given prompt and proper care.
  • For some, it may become a lifelong illness. Some of the medications used to control atopic dermatitis may have side effects if used for a long time or incorrectly. There are other treatment options available to make prolonged treatment safe and effective. A board-certified dermatologist can provide you with a management plan that is effective in controlling atopic dermatitis and will prevent unwanted treatment complications.
  • Many skin diseases look like atopic dermatitis.. A board-certified dermatologist is trained to correctly diagnose and manage atopic dermatitis.
  • There are several misconceptions or folk remedies for eczemas, which may be unnecessary or even unsafe. Some children are placed on restricted diet even if there is no proof that certain foods trigger the flare (for example, chicken or “malalangsa”). Such diet restriction may affect proper nutrition and may even be detrimental to over-all growth of children. A proper assessment is necessary.
PDS
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