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Atopic Dermatitis by Brittany Blumer

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Atopic Dermatitis, also known as eczema, is dry patches of skin that can appear anywhere on the body and usually itch. These patches frequently appear on the inner bends of the arms and legs, the chest, neck, face, wrists, ankles, and even the delicate skin surrounding the eyes. The patches range in color from red to a brownish-gray. Small red bumps can appear on the patches and if they are scratched some fluid could leak out and cause the patches to itch more severely. When the fluid leaks out it usually forms a crusty barrier over the patch of eczema to protect the raw skin that has been exposed. If the fluid didn’t form a barrier the skin would be more susceptible to bacteria, such as, staphylococcus aureus that could cause infection. Staphylococcus aureus lives on your skin at all times but it thrives when it comes in contact with the fluid that’s released from the small, red bumps. Learning to avoid scratching at a young age will help to avoid infections.

Atopic Dermatitis usually appears before age five and can persist for many years and even into adulthood for some people. Symptoms of eczema can worsen due to many different reasons. Some of the main things that can increase discomfort are dry skin, dramatic temperature changes, sweating, detergents, man-made fabrics, and stress. Exercise is one prevention method that is believed to reduce symptoms as long as a warm, not hot, shower is taken afterward to remove the sweat. Diet also has an important role on the intensity of the eczema symptoms. Foods, such as, eggs, dairy products, and wheat or soy can increase the discomfort the individual is experiencing. These things can worsen the symptoms of eczema but they do not cause it. Researchers aren’t sure what exactly causes atopic dermatitis but they believe it is related to irritable skin and a malfunction within the body’s immune system. It is believed to be genetic and possibly related to asthma but researchers are still unsure of the true cause of this condition.

Atopic dermatitis is not a fatal condition but is extremely uncomfortable. It is believed that about 12 percent of children in the United States suffer from atopic dermatitis while only 1 percent of adults do. Most individuals outgrow this disease by the time they become adults but it can persist into adulthood.  The most severe problem that can arise from this disease is a bacterial infection which can be easily prevented by avoiding scratching and applying an antibacterial ointment to the raw skin.

There hasn’t been a cure discovered for atopic dermatitis yet but there have been many creams that can help decrease the discomfort caused by this disease. Making some lifestyle changes is almost a necessity in preventing eczema from getting out of control. You may have to change your diet, laundry detergents, clothing, or even your location. Making these changes along with using corticosteroid creams prescribed by your doctor can greatly reduce the irritation caused by this disease.







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