Jennifer Hellwig, MS, RD
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. This condition is not contagious.
It is sometimes referred to as the itch that rashes
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Factors that may contribute to eczema include:
Factors that increase your chance of eczema:
The symptoms vary from person to person. Scratching and rubbing can cause or worsen some of the symptoms.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is made by the appearance and location of the rash.You may be referred to specialist. A dermatologist focuses on skin disorders. An allergist focuses on allergies.
The main goals of eczema treatments are to:
Treatment options may vary. Your doctor may recommend more than one depending on your condition. They include:
It is difficult to prevent eczema. This is most true when there is a strong family history.
You may be able to reduce your child's risk of eczema by:
Your doctor may have more information regarding steps for reducing the risk of eczema.
If you already have eczema, there are several things you can do to try to control it:
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
National Eczema Society
Canadian Dermatology Association
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http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed March 11, 2013.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Atopic_Dermatitis/. Accessed March 11, 2013.
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http://www.aaaai.org/patients/allergic_conditions/eczema.stm. Accessed March 11, 2013.
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1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Last reviewed September 2012 by Purvee S. Shah, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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