Atopic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin. Its also called eczema. Its often associated with allergies, hay fever, and asthma. Eczema can occur on any part of the body. Typically, it occurs in the crook of the elbows, wrists, and behind the knees. Its a chronic condition which tends to cycle between flare-ups and relatively clear periods. There is no cure but it can be treated.
Avoiding irritants, some soaps, artificial fragrances and using creams and ointments can relieve itching and prevent worsening of the condition. Most people learn to manage it, but if it interferes with daily activity or sleep, it should be seen by a physician.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. It seems to be a combination of dry, irritable skin, an abnormal immune response, and a tendency to run in families that together constitute conditions favorable for eczema.
Factors That Worsen Eczema
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is usually on the skin of people with eczema. Scratching can break the skins barrier to infection. The wounds ooze liquid, making eczema worse and provoking infection. Its particularly common in children.
Other factors which can worsen signs and symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry skin
- Long, hot baths and showers
- Low humidity
- Rapid changes in temperature
- Soaps, detergents, various cleaners
- Wool and synthetic fabrics or clothing
- Cigarette smoke
- Severe air pollution
- Certain foods, such as eggs, milks, fish, soy, and wheat
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