Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Treatment for atopic dermatitis depends on the type of rash you have. Most mild cases can be treated at home with moisturizers—especially Reference skin barrier repair moisturizers Opens New Window—and preventive care. Most of the time, rash and itching can be controlled within 3 weeks.
For more serious rashes, you will need to see your doctor for treatment. These rashes include:
- An oozing rash, with fluid-filled sores that ooze fluid or crust over. You may have a skin infection.
- A scaly, dry, red, and itchy rash.
- Areas of thickened skin (lichenified skin).
Getting medical treatment early may keep your symptoms from getting worse.
For rashes that don't get better with medicines or moisturizers, treatment may include:
- High-strength Reference topical corticosteroids or Reference oral corticosteroids. These may be used when the rash covers large areas of the body. They may also be used when complications occur, such as skin infections.
- A bandage or dressing that is wrapped around the affected skin. This covers open sores and prevents contact with air.
- Exposure to Reference ultraviolet Opens New Window (UV) light, with or without other medicine, at a clinic or doctor's office. Options include Reference phototherapy or Reference psoralen plus ultraviolet light therapy (PUVA).
- Reference Cyclosporine or Reference interferon. These are sometimes used in adults if other treatment doesn't work.
For itching, treatment may include antihistamines. Also, taking baths with colloidal oatmeal (such as Aveeno) or applying wet dressings to the rash for 30 minutes several times a day may help.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be needed. A short stay in the hospital can quickly control the condition.
What to think about
Counseling may be helpful for children and adults with atopic dermatitis. Talking with a counselor can help reduce stress and anxiety caused by atopic dermatitis and can help a person cope with the condition.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 17, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology