The terms “eczema” or “dermatitis” are used to describe certain kinds of inflamed skin conditions including allergic contact dermatitis and nummular dermatitis. Eczema can be red, blistering, oozing, scaly, brownish, or thickened and usually itches. A special type is called atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.
ATOPIC DERMATITIS OR ATOPIC ECZEMA
Atopic dermatitis is very common in all parts of the world. It affects about 10% of infants and 3% of the total population in the United States.
It can occur at any age but is most common in infants to young adults. The skin rash is very itchy and can be widespread, or limited to a few areas.
The condition frequently improves with adolescence, but many patients are affected throughout life, although not as severely as in early childhood.
ECZEMA IN LATER LIFE
Other eczema patches in this stage are typically dry, red to brownish-gray, and may be scaly or thickened. The thickened areas may last for years without treatment. The intense, almost unbearable itching can continue, and may be most noticeable at night. Some patients scratch the skin until it bleeds and crusts. When this occurs, the skin can get infected.
Since the disease does not always follow the same pattern, proper, early, and regular treatment can bring relief and may reduce the severity and duration of the disease.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT ATOPIC DERMATITIS
Since this condition is associated with allergies, can certain foods be the cause?
Are environmental causes important and should they be eliminated?
Are skin tests, like those given for hay fever or asthma, of any value in finding the causes?
Are “shots” such as those given for hay fever and other allergies, useful?
What should be done to treat this condition?
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