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Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic skin condition that typically appears during childhood. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. There are a number of treatments available that can help ease symptoms or prevent/lessen the severity of eczema flare-ups.

Symptoms of Eczema

The signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary from person to person and include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching, which can range from mild to severe, with its intensity increasing at night
  • Red or brown-gray patches on the skin, especially over the extremities (arms and legs), upper chest, face, scalp, and anywhere where the skin may fold.
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly patches on the skin
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin that results from excessive scratching

Atopic dermatitis commonly starts before an individual is 5 years of age and can persist into adolescence and adulthood. For some people, it may flare periodically and then clear up for a period of time, from a couple of weeks to several years. You may see a doctor if you or a loved one begins to experience difficulty sleeping, disruptions in daily activities, skin infections, or breakthrough symptoms despite trying home remedies.

Causes of Eczema

Eczema negatively affects your skin’s ability to retain moisture and protect you from bacteria, irritants, and allergens. While it is unknown what exactly causes the development of eczema, individuals with a family history of the condition is a risk factor, as well as exposure to certain substances that can trigger the immune system. While the triggers may vary from person to person, common triggers include:

  • Environmental allergens (such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, or airborne cockroach particles)
  • Both chemical and natural products (such as soaps, scented products, or household cleaners and detergents)
  • Infection
  • Dry weather
  • Sweating
  • Food allergies

Diagnosis and Treatment of Eczema

Eczema can adversely affect a person’s life by distracting an individual from school or work or by disrupting sleep due to itching. At Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, your provider will be able to identify your skin condition through a thorough examination and review of your medical and family history. No cure exists for eczema, but your physician can work closely with you to develop a plan that can treat your eczema symptoms as they arise and prevent future flare-ups. Some steps you can take to prevent eczema flares or exacerbations include applying a daily moisturizer and avoiding scented or plant-based products. In addition to prevention, your physician will likely recommend medication(s) for you to take as needed to resolve flare-ups or on a daily basis for a longer period of time. These can include antihistamines, topical steroid or nonsteroidal medications, topical antibiotic medications, or even a biologic treatment (such as Dupixent, which works to reduce inflammation that triggers eczema flares from the inside of the body).

Next steps

If you are interested in further discussion about your specific needs, Dr. Reshamwala is happy to see you and answer any questions you may have. Please call 512-382-1933 or email to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment

Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21

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