Dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a condition in which patients develop inflamed, itchy patches on the skin, most often the extremities, trunk, and face. Atopic dermatitis can be associated with asthma, hay fever, and allergies in the patient or family members. The cause of eczema is often not known, although in some cases it may be due to contact allergy. Eczema can affect all ages, including babies.
Treatment includes avoiding triggering factors, such as dry skin, irritating substances and infection. Additionally, cortisone creams, emollients and immunomodulating medications (such as Elidel and Protopic) can be used. Ultraviolet light and systemic medications, such as oral cortisone and immunosuppressives, are used for the most resistant cases.