More than 31 million Americans have some form of eczema, including atopic dermatitis. While atopic dermatitis affects all races, it’s most common among Black children and Black children experience more severe cases. As a mother of a Black child who does suffer from atopic dermatitis it’s important for me to work with companies like Med-IQ to help bring awareness to the disease, it’s symptoms and what can be done to provide relief. Since we travel often it’s especially important for us to be aware of our health as we explore the world.
What is Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema is actually a general name for a group of dermatologic conditions that includes contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and others. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment. We first noticed my daughter had atopic dermatitis at the age of one and now at four she still suffers. Like many who suffer we have found weather plays a role in the severity of her condition. The way your body reacts to the disease plays a large role, for some people their condition worsens in the winter months but for others it worsens in the summer because of the heat and humidity.
Atopic dermatitis can oftentimes be noticed by it’s red spots but in people with darker skin like my daughter’s it’s not red at all. Instead it’s dark or flaky spots which are in the inner creases of her arm, specifically the inside of her elbow. Every person is different and some people unfortunately have severe cases which cover larger areas of their bodies, including their legs, and neck.
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis and How Does it Affect Patients and Family
If you or your child has atopic dermatitis there is nothing you did to cause it. Sometimes it can be genetic, even if you or your parents didn’t have it, predispositions that cause skin to be more prone to allergic factors could be a cause. It’s important not to place the blame on anyone.
As a parent who doesn’t suffer from atopic dermatitis but my daughter does I feel guilty that she’s experiencing this extreme discomfort. Sometimes she wakes up because her arm is so itchy which can have a lot of negative effects. It’s important to stay on top of these feelings both as a parent and what we see in our children. Atopic dermatitis has been known to cause depression so if this is something you’re noticing, please seek help.
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis isn’t something that will just go away and treatment varies for every patient. You can see both a dermatologist or your child’s pediatrician to go over a treatment plan. When we travel we never know when a flare up will present itself so we’re always sure to pack any medication even if my daughter isn’t experiencing severe flare ups when we’re ready to go away.
Impact Covid-19 Has on Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis
With the increase in use of hand sanitizers during this pandemic it can unfortunately cause eczema and atopic dermatitis to flare up. However, with people wanting to avoid contact with others, telemedicine has become an alternate way to meet with a physician. On December 15th from 6:00-6:30 PM ET Dr. Andrew Alexis will be hosting a Facebook live to go over information and answer your questions on eczema and atopic dermatitis in particular.
How to Help Fight Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis
To fight eczema and atopic dermatitis doctors need your help! Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with atopic dermatitis, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative. You can take the survey here.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Pfizer, Inc. to write about the signs, symptoms, and treatments available for eczema/atopic dermatitis in communities of color. All opinions are my own.