You Just Learned You Have Severe Eczema: What Now?

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Severe eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, can increase the risk of serious infections and have a negative effect on quality of life. Researchers at the University of Colorado College of Nursing at CU Anschutz Medical Campus and National Jewish Health, both in Denver, have written comprehensive guidelines for managing this condition.

Current guidelines for treatment are often misunderstood or not used, according to the researchers. Atopic dermatitis treatment is it typically reactive, rather than proactive, and may involve the inappropriate use of medications that can have systemic effects.

According to the new guidelines, the first step is to make a proper diagnosis and define the severity of the condition. Treatment should address these basics of eczema care:

  1. Use moisturizers and topical medications to improve skin hydration
  2. Identify irritants and allergens
  3. Treat infections
  4. Address psychosocial aspects of the disease
  5. Develop an action plan
  6. Consult with an atopic dermatitis specialist
  7. Consider acute management with wet-wrap therapy (treatment that involves soaking the skin and sealing the affected ara to hydrate the skin for an extended period)
  8. Consider hospitalization, systemic treatment with biologics, and phototherapy

Sourced from: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice