Since there is no cure for atopic eczema, treatment should mainly involve discovering the triggers of allergic reactions and learning to avoid them.
Originally controversial, the association of food allergy with atopic dermatitis has now been clearly demonstrated.
Many common food allergens can trigger an allergic reaction: such as milk, nuts, cheese, tomatoes, wheat, yeast, soy, and corn. Many of these allergens are common ingredients in grocery store products (especially corn syrup, which is a sugar substitute).
Specialty health food stores often carry products that do not contain common allergens.
Breastfeeding is the best way to avoid these problems, but if that is unavailable, then hydrolyzed formulas are preferred to cow's milk.
The use of organic dairy products by children and breastfeeding or pregnant mothers reduces the risk of atopic dermatitis in young children.
Environment and lifestyle
Since dust is a very common allergen and irritant, adults with atopic eczema should likely avoid smoking, as well as the inhalation of dust in general.
The dander from the fur of dogs and cats may also trigger an inflammatory response. It is a common misconception that simply removing an animal from a room will prevent an allergic reaction from occurring.
A room must be completely free of animal dander in order to prevent an allergic reaction. Anger, stress, and lack of sleep are also factors that are known to aggravate eczema.
Excessive heat (especially with humidity) and coldness are known to provoke outbreaks, as well as sudden and extreme temperature swings.
An allergy skin-patch or "scratch" test, given by an allergist, can often pinpoint the triggers of allergic reactions.
Once the causes of the allergic reactions are discovered, the allergens should be eliminated from the diet, lifestyle, and/or environment.
If the eczema is severe, it may take some time (days to weeks depending on the severity) for the body's immune system to begin to settle down after the irritants are withdrawn.
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