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Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) - Topic Overview

Mild atopic dermatitis can be treated at home.

  • Moisturize often to treat and prevent dry skin. Thicker creams and ointments, like petroleum jelly, work better than thinner lotions.
  • Avoid things that trigger rashes, such as harsh soaps and detergents, dander, and any other things you are allergic to.
  • Control scratching. You may want to cover the rash with a bandage to keep from rubbing it.
    • Putting mittens or cotton socks on your baby's hands may prevent him or her from scratching.
    • Wearing cotton gloves at night may help older children and adults. (Moisturize hands first before putting on the gloves.)
  • Use medicine prescribed by your doctor.
  • Bathe with lukewarm or warm (not hot) water. Soak for about 10 minutes. Use soap or shampoo at the end so that you aren't sitting in soapy water.

But if your symptoms are bothering you and aren't getting better, see your doctor. Getting medical treatment early may keep your symptoms from getting worse.

In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe pills or give you a shot to stop the itching. Or you may get ultraviolet (UV) light treatment at a clinic or doctor's office.

Learning about atopic dermatitis:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Living with atopic dermatitis:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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