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Dermatitis (Eczema)

Dermatitis (Eczema)

What is Eczema?

Eczema (pronounced “EK-zema”), also known as atopic dermatitis, is one of the most common skin diseases in the United States. The condition affects nearly 9% of the overall U.S. population and 15% of children.

Eczema almost always begins in childhood, usually during infancy. Its symptoms are dry, itchy, scaly skin, cracks behind the ears, and rashes on the cheeks, arms, and legs. It alternately improves and worsens. It’s seldom present at birth, but it often comes on after six weeks. Eczema is a very itchy rash. Much of the skin damage comes from scratching and rubbing that cannot be controlled. Eczema is not contagious.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a form of skin inflammation that occurs when compounds touching your skin cause irritation or an allergic reaction. The red, itchy rash isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable.

Skin contact with soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, or plants such as poison ivy or poison oak and some occupations involve exposure to substances that may cause contact dermatitis.

Diagnosis starts with a thorough medical history and exam. Patch testing will be recommended if contact dermatitis is suspected as the possible cause of the rash.

  • Colds or other infection.
  • Most have worse problems in the winter
  • Irritants are any of the substances outside the body that can cause burning, redness, itching or dryness of the skin. The challenge: Avoid irritating substances.
  • Stress: People with AD often react to stress by having red flushing and itching.
  • Heat and sweating. Most people with atopic dermatitis notice that when they get hot, they itch.
  • Infections. Bacterial “staph” infections are the most common, especially on arms and legs.
  • Foods, dust mites and pets can trigger eczema in many patients. Avoidance of foods is not recommended without proper diagnosis. If a food allergy is diagnosed most patients react to only 1-2 food families. It is extraordinarily rare to have an allergy to a large number of foods.
Can sufferers of AD live normal lives?

Yes! People with AD do not have to be limited by their disease. It can be controlled by prevention, medication, and careful adherence to a treatment program consisting of: skin hydration, itch control, inflammation control.