How should I care for someone with atopic dermatitis?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If a child or someone else in your care has atopic dermatitis, bring him or her to a doctor for evaluation. Follow all of the doctor's instructions for daily skin care. Have the person in your care bathe in lukewarm water with mild soap or a cleanser recommended by his or her doctor. Never rub skin affected by atopic dermatitis with a towel. Always pat dry gently or allow the skin to air dry. When the skin is dry, apply a cream, ointment, or other lubricant recommended by your doctor.

Give a person in your care who has atopic dermatitis any prescribed medication on schedule, and try to avoid missing doses.

One of the biggest challenges in caring for a child with atopic dermatitis is to prevent him or her from scratching the affected skin. Idleness can lead to scratching, so keep a child with atopic dermatitis busy with games and other activities. Sedating antihistamine medication may help a child who scratches at night get to sleep. Your doctor or dermatologist can give you more information on caring for someone who has atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis most commonly affects children, so as a parent or caregiver it is important to have a good understanding of the disease. It is also important to form a good relationship with your child's doctor and gain a solid understanding of the treatment plan they prescribe. Especially with infants, you'll need to be in charge of your child's daily skin regimen (bathing properly and using corticosteroid cream, if prescribed) and be largely responsible for identifying the triggers that cause flare-ups. Often, your biggest responsibility will be making sure that your child doesn't scratch and further irritate the skin. Adults with atopic dermatitis can generally manage the condition themselves.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.