What is atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a long-lasting skin problem. It causes dry skin, intense itching, and then a red, raised rash. In severe cases, the rash forms clear, fluid-filled blisters. It cannot be spread from person to person.
Atopic dermatitis is most common in babies and children, but you may also get atopic dermatitis as an adult. While atopic dermatitis is sometimes called eczema or atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis is only one of the many types of eczema.
What causes atopic dermatitis?
The cause of atopic dermatitis is not clear. People with atopic dermatitis seem to have very sensitive immune systems that are more likely to react to irritants and allergens. Most people who have atopic dermatitis have a personal or family history of allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma. The skin inflammation that causes the atopic dermatitis rash is thought to be a type of allergic response.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
The main symptom of atopic dermatitis is itching, followed by rash. The rash is red and patchy and may be long-lasting or may come and go. Tiny bumps or blisters may appear and ooze fluid or crust over. Scratching can cause the sores to become infected. Over time, a recurring rash can lead to tough and thickened skin.
People tend to get the rash on different parts of the body, depending on their age. Common sites include the face, neck, arms, and legs. Rashes in the groin area are rare.