Atopic Dermatitis: The Physical, Psychological and Social Dimensions!

Do you suffer from Atopic Dermatitis or know someone who does? The feeling of always having dry itchy skin, dry patches, raised bumps on your hands, feet, neck, elbows and eyelids. And it all gets worse at night? Whether you’ve experienced this yourself or know someone who has, Atopic Dermatitis can be really unpleasant. 

So, we can only imagine how someone with Atopic Dermatitis must feel, all the embarrassing social scenarios and uncomfortable professional situations they may encounter.

Is there a cure for Atopic Dermatitis?

Of course, there’s a cure to reduce the skin inflammation and dryness caused by Atopic Dermatitis. Over the counter treatments like moisturizers and skincare products can alleviate the itching and prevent the disease from getting worse.

To answer the question even better, here are the thoughts of Dr. Assem Farag – Professor of Dermatology and Venereology, at Benha University and President of the Egyptian Society of Aesthetic Dermatology – on the matter.

“Sometimes conventional medicine is unable to provide a radical solution to some skin diseases. The currently used therapeutic protocols only give the patient some local comfort through the use of some types of unsafe medicines for long-term use (some types of creams or ointments that contain corticosteroids, antibiotics, and drugs that suppress the functioning of the immune system). They may cause some serious side effects such as stunted growth, weakened immune system, and other problems, especially on children. For this reason, these medicines are given for periods they are limited and only in severe infections. Also, given that the genetic causes of Atopic Dermatitis are still not fully understood yet, conventional treatments may provide limited and only temporary control over the symptoms of the disease, but they are unable – unfortunately – to provide a radical solution to this disease.”

Symptoms can vary between the following:• Dry skin• Itching that may be severe, especially at night, causes problems and makes it difficult to sleep• Thick, cracked, sore, tender, swollen skin from scratching• Red to brownish-gray spots

Dr. Assem thinks the biggest threat facing patients with Atopic Dermatitis is the lack of self-confidence. People with this disease feel embarrassed and distressed by their condition.  As for children, the difficulties are multiplied.

You see, between children, symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis that may appear on one kid can put him/her under the threat of being bullied. His colleagues, at a young age, won’t have the same tolerance as adults. Hence, children’s psychological health is at grave danger.

How can we prevent this? 

Simply by raising awareness about the disease. Parents who have a child with Atopic Dermatitis should immediately talk to the school and other parents about their kid’s condition. This way, everyone would be relieved to know the skin disease is not infectious and won’t harm other children. They can even talk to their own kids about it and explain how they should treat their colleague.

As for the school and teachers, being aware of a student’s particular condition will help them in providing the emotional support the patient may need. And in case of any emergency, there’s no surprises there and they’ll know what to do.

Educating ourselves, children and others on common diseases is crucial. It may spare someone with a condition a life-time of misery and alienation. Don’t hesitate and spread the message!

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