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- Eczema Slideshow: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
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- Patient Comments: Atopic Dermatitis - Describe Your Experience
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- Atopic dermatitis facts
- What is atopic dermatitis?
- Atopic dermatitis vs. eczema
- How common is atopic dermatitis?
- What are the causes and risk factors of atopic dermatitis?
- Is atopic dermatitis contagious?
- What are atopic dermatitis symptoms and signs?
- Can atopic dermatitis affect the face?
- What are the stages of atopic dermatitis?
- What specialists treat atopic dermatitis?
- How do physicians diagnose atopic dermatitis?
- How can people prevent and avoid aggravating factors for atopic dermatitis?
- What are skin irritants in patients with atopic dermatitis?
- Are food allergies important in atopic dermatitis?
- What are aeroallergens?
- What are home remedies for atopic dermatitis?
- What is the treatment for atopic dermatitis?
- What is the prognosis of atopic dermatitis?
Quick GuideEczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Is atopic dermatitis contagious?
No. Atopic dermatitis itself is definitely not contagious, and it cannot be passed from one person to another through skin contact. There is generally no cause for concern in being around someone with even an active case of atopic dermatitis, unless they have active skin infections.
Some patients with atopic dermatitis get secondary infections of their skin with Staphylococcus ("staph"), other bacteria, herpes virus (cold sores), and less commonly yeasts and other fungal infections. These infections may be contagious through skin contact.
What are atopic dermatitis symptoms and signs?
Although symptoms and signs may vary from person to person, the most common symptoms are dry, itchy, red skin. Itch is the hallmark of the disease. Typically, affected skin areas include the folds of the arms, the back of the knees, wrists, face, and neck.
The itchiness is an important factor in atopic dermatitis, because scratching and rubbing can worsen the skin inflammation that is characteristic of this disease. People with atopic dermatitis seem to be more sensitive to itching and feel the need to scratch longer in response. They develop what is referred to as the "itch-scratch" cycle. The extreme itchiness of the skin causes the person to scratch, which in turn worsens the itch, and so on. Itching is particularly a problem during sleep, when conscious control of scratching decreases and the absence of other outside stimuli makes the itchiness more noticeable.