HomeDiseases and DisordersAllergiesSkin Asthma – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

skin asthmaThe condition of skin asthma (more often called atopic dermatitis or eczema) is commonly found in young children and usually involves inflammation and itchy. While not contagious, skin asthma should be treated promptly because it can often be the sign of an underlying disorder or lead to other problems.

The vast majority of cases are found in the very young. Studies have found that infants and toddlers up to five years of age comprise nearly 80% of cases. Babies and children with a weak immune system or respiratory ailments such as asthma may be especially prone to contract atopic dermatitis. Although it appears in many places on the body (even the face), the vast majority of cases are in skin folds. Behind the knees, the elbows, the armpits, under the buttocks, or the interior ear folds are all locations where the disease has been documented.

Causes of Skin Asthma

Environmental allergens like certain foods, pollens or other pollutants can trigger a reaction. Likewise, physical irritants in the form of harsh fabrics or dry skin can trigger a reaction, too. By far the greatest cause, however, is genetic. Some figures cite that up to 70% of all cases can be blamed on heredity. This may be due to a genetically inferior immune system or a recessive gene that may make a child more likely to be troubled by allergens, which can then trigger a more serious attack like atopic dermatitis.

Skin Asthma Symptoms

The traditional signs of skin asthma mimic the same symptoms of other skin conditions and may include a rash, itchiness, skin inflammation and a worsening of other allergies. The skin rash may be chronic and the itching is often severe enough to impact the quality of life. Constant scratching may worsen the inflammation and may also weaken the skin, which may allow for bacteria and germs to enter the body causing further symptoms. Affected people may also have small dry, flaky patches of skin and for this reason it is often confused with psoriasis.

Skin Asthma Treatment

There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, but children suffering from this disorder, fortunately, find that periods of remission grow longer and longer as they age. Only around 20% of children continue to carry outbreaks past adolescence. For the majority, the body naturally controls breakouts until the stop.

The treatments available must instead focus on relieving rather than stopping the symptoms. Topical creams can soothe itching and a doctor may prescribe a mild corticosteroid cream. Lotions will also help relieve dryness and can lessen the symptoms.

It is believed that over 10% of the population in the United States may suffer at least one bout of skin asthma. The good news is that it is almost always confined to the childhood years and outbreaks will subside unlike other conditions like gluten psoriasis or other ailments, which may require an entire lifestyle change throughout adulthood to control. By Bob Parker

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