Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (sometimes called eczema or atopic eczema) is a skin condition that causes intense itching and a red, raised rash. In severe cases, the rash develops fluid- or pus-filled blisters.

The condition occurs mainly in babies and children but can also affect teenagers and adults. Most people who have atopic dermatitis have a personal or family history of allergic conditions, such as allergic rhinitis.

The cause of atopic dermatitis is poorly understood. People with atopic dermatitis seem to have very sensitive immune systems that are more prone to react to numerous irritants and allergens.

Although there is no cure, atopic dermatitis can be treated with preventive measures, such as moisturizing the skin and avoiding irritants, and with medications such as creams or pills.

Last Updated: May 5, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine

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