Atopic dermatitis (AD) is an itchy skin condition that starts in infancy. Although the medical community is not yet sure of its exact cause, we know that with age, especially as one goes through puberty, it gets better. AD appears as an itchy red and dry rash initially and progresses to thick skin with accentuated skin markings.
There is a strong genetic link to AD, which results in abnormalities of ceramide production. Ceramides are the natural fats (lipids) of the skin.
In addition to the itching, dry skin and redness, AD patients are at risk for certain other conditions such as:
- Viral infections (eczema herpeticum) – infection of the skin with herpes simplex infection. This can cause the skin to become covered in blisters and painful. Anti-viral medicines can help treat this condition rather rapidly.
- Bacterial infections- bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenesis can cause impetigo
- Hives (urticaria) and even acute anaphylactic reactions to foods such as peanuts, eggs, milk, soya, fish, and seafood
- Latex allergy
- Atopic dermatitis can be part of the genetic triad of asthma and nasal allergies.