How to treat atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a condition that causes the skin to turn red and itchy. It is usually prevalent in children but can happen at any age. This is considered as a chronic condition that can flare occasionally and then subside and usually accompanied by asthma or hay fever.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis

  • Red to brownish-gray patches especially in the feet, hands, ankles, wrist, upper chest, neck, inside bend of the elbows, eyelids and the knees. Among infants, it can develop on the face and scalp.
  • Itchiness that becomes severe especially at night.
  • Thickened, cracked, dry and scaly skin.
  • Small raised bumps which leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Raw, sensitive and swollen skin due to scratching
    Atopic dermatitis

    Raw, sensitive and swollen skin due to scratching

Factors that can worsen atopic dermatitis

  • Dry skin caused by long hot baths and showers
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Sweat
  • Stress
  • Constant scratching
  • Tobacco smoke and air pollution
  • Dust and pollen
  • Changes in heat and humidity
  • Wool in clothing, blankets and carpets
  • Solvents, cleaners, detergents and soap

Causes

  • Family history of the condition
  • Exposure to allergens such as pet hair and dander, pollen, mold, foods such as wheat, eggs, dairy products and nuts.
  • Skin irritants such as chemicals, perfumes, chemical based skin products, harsh soaps and synthetic clothes
  • Hot water bath
  • Stress
  • Hot or cold climatic conditions

Treatment

  • Take an over-the-counter oral allergy or anti-itch medication to lessen the severe itchiness and causes drowsiness to help the individual sleep.
  • Take a diluted bleach bath to lessen the bacteria in the skin and reduce the risk for infections. In a bathtub filled with warm water, add ½ cup of household bleach. Soak the body from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for at least 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with a towel and apply a moisturizer. Take a bleach bath at least 2-3 times every week.
  • Take warm baths by mixing in baking soda. This helps lessen the itchiness of the skin. Another alternative is using oatmeal or finely powdered oatmeal to relieves the dryness of the skin.
  • Apply an over-the-counter anti-itch cream such as calamine lotion or 1% hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itching of the affected skin.
  • Apply a moisturizer all over the skin while still damp after a bath or shower. Apply to the legs, arms, back and sides of the body and if the skin is already dry, apply oil or a lubricating cream.
  • Apply cool and wet compresses and cover it with bandages and dressing to protect the skin and prevent scratching of the skin.
  • Apply vitamin E oil on the affected skin and leave in place for at least 15 minutes. The oil minimizes the itchiness and symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Vitamin E oil is rich in natural tocopherols and must be applied at least 3 times every day to achieve the best results.

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