Atopic Dermatitis is a disease that causes itchy, inflamed skin. It typically affects the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, and the face, but can cover most of the body. Atopic Dermatitis falls into a category of diseases called Atopic, a term originally used to describe the allergic conditions asthma and hay fever. Atopic Dermatitis was included in the Atopic category because it often affects people who either suffer from asthma and/or hay fever or have family members who do. Physicians often refer to these three conditions as the "Atopic triad.
- Dry skin—easily irritated
- Occupational skin disease—hand dermatitis
- Skin infections—Staph and herpes ("cold sores")
- Eye problems—eyelid dermatitis, cataracts
- Family and social relationships disrupted
- Work loss
Many substances have been identified as itch "triggers" in patients with eczema, and triggers are not the same for every person. Many times it is difficult to identify the exact trigger that causes a flare-up. For some, it seems that rough or coarse materials coming into contact with the skin causes itchiness. For others, feeling too hot and/or sweating will cause an outbreak. Other people find that certain soaps, detergents, disinfectants, contact with juices from fresh fruits and meats, dust mites, and animal saliva and dander’s may trigger itching. Upper respiratory infections (caused by viruses) may also be triggers. Stress can also sometimes aggravate an existing flare-up.