WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Atopic dermatitis is an itchy, red skin rash. It is also called eczema. It is a long-term condition that may cause flare-ups for the rest of your life.
- Steroid cream: You may need a doctor's order for this medicine. Apply this cream to reduce redness, pain, and swelling. Ask your primary healthcare provider what steroid cream to use and how to use it.
- Antihistamines: This medicine is used to reduce itching.
- Antibiotics: This medicine treats or prevents an infection caused by bacteria. You may need this if you have a skin infection.
- Oral steroids: You may be given this to reduce redness, pain, and swelling if your atopic dermatitis is very bad.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage atopic dermatitis:
- Do not scratch: Pat or press on your skin for relief from itching. Your symptoms will get worse if you scratch. Keep your fingernails short so you do not tear your skin if you do scratch.
- Keep your skin moist: Rub cream or petroleum jelly into your skin. Do this right after a bath or shower when your skin is still damp. Apply cream as many times as needed each day to keep your skin moist and soft.
- Take short baths or showers: Bathe or shower in warm (not hot) water for 20 minutes or less. Use mild bar soap. Use soap only under your arms, between your legs, and on your feet. Gently pat your skin dry. Rub in emollients (thick creams) within 3 minutes after your bath or shower if you bathe every day. It is better to bathe less often.
- Wear cotton clothes: Wear loose-fitting clothes made from 100% cotton. Avoid wool. Do not wear clothes that make you hot and sweaty.
- Humidify your home: Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
- Avoid changes in temperature: Avoid activities that cause you to sweat a lot because this can cause itching. Remove blankets from your bed if you get hot while you sleep.
- Reduce allergens and dust at home: Avoid contact with anything that seems to make your dermatitis worse, such as plants or animals.
- Avoid skin irritants: Do not use fabric softener. Do not wear perfume. Do not wear makeup that burns or itches.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist if:
- Most of your skin is red, swollen, painful, and covered with scales.
- Your rash develops bloody, red, painful crusts.
- Your skin blisters and oozes white or yellow pus.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop a fever, red streaks going up your arm or leg, or your rash gets more swollen, red or hot.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Atopic Dermatitis (Aftercare Instructions)
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