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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Allergic Dermatitis

11:17 AM


DESCRIPTIONS
* A condition characterized by dry itchy skin
* Likely a genetic relationship
* Multiple environmental factors (i.e., food, clothing, soap, bacterial, dust-mites, climate)
* Emotional stress also worsens
* More common in infants; 50% are clear by age 10
* 50% retain the condition to adulthood
* Associated with Asthma in 50%

SYMPTOMS
* Dry, scaly rash. Common areas in infants are scalp, cheeks, and elbows.
* In children and adults, common areas are eyelids, neck, elbow creases, and back of knees
* Rarely, total body involvement may occur
* Prolonged episodes may lead to thickening, facial wrinkles, increased pigmentation.

TREATMENT
* Changing of formula (lactose to soy) may benefit some children
* Avoidance of environmental irritants and triggers
* Mild soaps, moisturizers, topical and oral antihistamines
* Restrict bathing to twice weekly; oatmeal baths may help, followed by moisturizers
* Scalp may benefit from antifungal shampoos and creams
* Severe cases may benefit from patch testing by a dermatologist
* Severe cases may require oral steroids and ultra-violet light therapy
* High-strength steroids may thin skin, cause acne, affect growth, and will require monitoring by a physician.

COMPLICATIONS
* Scratching can cause scarring, infection, increased pigmentation, and thickening of the skin.

PREVENTION
* Avoidance of irritants and triggers

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