The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known. But some things are linked to it. They include:
A child has a greater chance of having atopic dermatitis if he or she has:
Symptoms may come and go, or occur most or all of the time. Any area of the body may be affected. In babies, symptoms usually affect the face, neck, scalp, elbows, and knees. In children, symptoms usually affect the skin inside the elbows, on the back of the knees, the sides of the neck, around the mouth, and on the wrists, ankles, and hands.
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask if you or other family members have atopic dermatitis, asthma, or nasal allergies such as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. He or she will also ask about allergy symptoms in your child. The healthcare provider will examine your child, looking for signs of atopic dermatitis. There is no specific test for atopic dermatitis. Testing is usually not needed, but it may be done. Tests may include:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. There is no cure for atopic dermatitis. The goals of treatment are to ease itching and inflammation, add moisture, and prevent infection.
Treatment of atopic dermatitis includes:
Your child's healthcare provider may also prescribe medicines. They may be used alone or together. The following are most commonly used to treat atopic dermatitis:
Atopic dermatitis has no cure. But it will usually get better or go away as your child gets older. There may be times when your child has few or no symptoms. And he or she may have times when symptoms get worse. This is called a flare-up. To help prevent flare-ups, make sure your child:
Talk with your child's healthcare provider about other ways to help your child’s skin condition.
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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