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Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis

Noosha Shaheedy, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician located in Century City, CA

Dr. Noosha Shaheedy is a board-certified pediatrician who serves residents living in Century City, California, as well as many of the surrounding communities. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of many different skin conditions, including eczema and atopic dermatitis.

Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis Q&A

What are the signs and symptoms of eczema?

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a skin condition that often presents itself as red, itchy rash on the surface of the skin. It is often associated with allergic reactions, asthma, and high levels of stress. A few of the most common symptoms associated with the condition include:

  • Itching, which often gets worse during the night
  • Red, swollen skin that is irritated by intense scratching
  • Patches of skin ranging in color from red to a brownish-gray that appear at numerous places on the body
  • Dry skin that appears to be thickened, scaly, or cracked
  • Tiny bumps that may ooze pus and then crust over only to erupt again later

Rashes can appear in the folds of the skin, across the chest, back, legs, or face. Itching the irritated areas will increase the severity of the symptoms.

How is eczema treated?

Eczema can be treated in a variety of ways. Corticosteroid creams that control both itching and inflammation can be used to reduce irritation. Skin-repair creams can also be used to keep the skin moist and reduce irritation. Oral medications are also available that can reduce the risk of infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria that may attack the body through the rash.

In addition to oral medications, injections, and topical treatments, certain symptoms of eczema can be treated with wet dressings, light therapy, relaxation techniques, and, in some cases, dietary changes. If the cause of the rash is an allergic reaction, controlling the allergy may be a way of controlling the severity of eczema.

What causes or irritates atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis or eczema can be irritated in several ways other than scratching and rubbing. Extreme hot or cold may cause the condition to flare up. An increase in the amount of stress a person deals with may also irritate an eczema outbreak.

In small children, eczema can appear on the cheeks when blankets or other items stay in constant contact. This is also true if the items are wet or moist. Because a child's skin is more delicate than an adult's, constant exposure to certain types of cloth can also lead to or irritate existing areas where eczema is located.