Atopic Dermatitis


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Atopic Dermatitis, commonly known as eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that causes redness, itching and dry skin. it is a common problem worldwide affecting all age groups from newborns to adults. 1 in 10 Americans are known to have atopic dermatitis. There is no data regarding the prevalence of the disease locally.

The precise cause of atopic dermatitis is not fully understood, however they many factors and triggers that play a role. The factors that play a role in the development of atopic dermatitis are family history of atopic dermatitis, hay fever, food allergies or asthma, environmental factors, the individual’s immune system and what the individual has been exposed to.

The symptoms often vary from person to person. They include itchiness, which is the predominant symptom. Other symptoms include, dry cracked skin, thickened skin, oozing and crusting, a rash that develops on swollen skin and very sensitive skin from scratching. Atopic dermatitis has a typical age-related distribution, and the

skin lesions can vary depending on disease stage, ethnicity, as well as geographic location.

In infants, the face, scalp, cheeks, and extensor sides of the arms and legs are frequently involved, but the whole body may be affected in severe cases. With increasing age, skin lesions are commonly found in areas such as the folds of the knees and elbows, neck, ears, wrists, ankles, and around the eyes. In adolescents and adults, the hands, feet, head, and neck are frequently affected which can impair the ability to work and perform daily life activities.

The diagnosis of this condition Is made by a healthcare worker after taking a  careful history and doing a physical examination. They may occasionally be a need to do some tests to test for allergies. The management of this condition can be complex and is best managed by a skin doctor (dermatologist). The management includes lifestyle modification as well as medications which can be taken orally or applied to the skin.

Some of the non-medical interventions that can be done in management of atopic dermatitis includes;  taking short showers or baths, ,moisturising after bathing, using a fragrance free products, wearing looses clothes preferably made from 100% cotton. It is also important to wash new clothes before wearing them and to remove clothes tags.  Clothes should be washed using fragrance free detergent. It is also important to identify the triggers and avoid them. Medications can be also used in the form of cream, gels or ointments which are applied to the skin to control itching and inflammation .  there are also some pills which can be taken to reduce the inflammation.

The management of this condition is complicated and the medications used have potential side effects. It is imperative to seek medical attention early and be managed appropriately. It is not wise to self-medicate and treat this condition.


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