Dermatitis Do's and Don'ts

Like many conditions, atopic dermatitis is one that sufferers can manage by following some do's and don'ts. Of course, that's not true in all cases, which makes discussing symptoms with your doctor all the more important. But first, here are basics on the inflammatory skin disorder that's often genetic.

It's linked to allergies such as hay fever and causes patches of skin to become dry, red, itchy and scaly. Affected areas can include skin folds, such as the backs of the knees and the hands. The condition affects children and adults, and the factors triggering it are many and vary with the individual. Such factors include sweating, stress and allergens such as dust or wool.

Knowing what triggers dermatitis and then avoiding it is a good way to control your condition. You may want to keep a notebook to write down things that seem to affect your skin.

Other ways to manage the condition include:

* Using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser when bathing.

* Avoiding possible irritants such as washcloths or loofahs.

* Taking warm--not hot--baths. Adding oatmeal to the water can also help. Rinse well and pat skin.

* Moisturizing your skin right after bathing, while your skin is still damp.

* Avoiding extreme heat and extreme cold, and also very humid or very dry air.

* Avoiding animal hair and dander, if you know they can trigger a flare-up.

* Using a humidifier if the air in your office or home is very dry.

* Trying not to let stress get to you, because it can cause you to itch and scratch.

* Not wearing clothes made of scratchy fabrics, such as wool, which can irritate the skin.

* Wearing loose-fitting clothes made of fibers such as cotton.

Of course, medical treatment can also help keep your symptoms under control. Antihistamines, corticosteroids and topical treatments may be among your doctor's recommendations. Follow doctor's orders (and your self-care plan), and be sure to let the doctor know if symptoms persist.

Source: StayWell Co.

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