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Health and Medicine: Atopic Dermatitis Coursework

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Updated: Mar 2nd, 2022

Atopic dermatitis can be described as a kind of eczema or allergic disease resulting in a pruritic, non-contagious, inflammatory and chronically relapsing skin disease. If a baby has atopic dermatitis then he should be exclusively breastfed during infancy since this has been found to relatively reduce the development of atopic dermatitis. Those families with history of atopic dermatitis must breastfed the baby since he might have allergic reactions to cow milk or soy milk. Breastfeeding insures that no allergies can reach the baby protecting him from developing any allergic diseases. Those babies who are not artificially fed have to face lesser allergies then those who are fed special baby food formulas. (Meduri, 2007)

Infants with atopic dermatitis should be breastfed by their mothers till they are at least 6 months old since if it is continued after that then there may be a rise of atopic dermatitis as breastfeeding gets combined with other food habits. Infants with a family history of the disease need to be exclusively breastfed since through the breast milk they are able to not only meet their daily nutritional needs but are also protected from other food allergies. Breast milk also increases their immunity allowing them to fight away allergies. Even after solid food has been introduced mothers can continue breastfeeding but not for too long. (Diepgen, 2006)

Normally, a new mother does not need to avoid any specific foods in her diet whilst she is breastfeeding. However mothers having a family history of food allergies or with babies with atopic dermatitis should avoid only those food materials which may cause infectious diseases or allergies. Some of the foods materials a mother can avoid include shellfish, egg whites, food additives, soy or cow milk and nuts. If the mothers eat these foods then the babies may develop sensitivities towards them too. Mothers should consume a lot of healthy food including fruits and vegetables and try to avoid foods towards which her baby has an allergy. (Bergmann, 2008)

Babies who suffer from atopic dermatitis and other allergies should start to intake solid food only after they are 6 months old since a delay in the starting of solid food in these babies may delay and even reduce occurrences of allergic reactions. If possible mother’s can also delay the introduction of solid food to up to a year. The less solid food they consume the safer will they be from allergic reaction. Mother’s should never give their babies solid food to which they have allergic reactions. Foods which trigger allergic reactions in the baby should be completely avoided and only be given to the baby after 2 years. (Henriksen, 2008)

Environmental allergens, like dust mites, must always be removed from a baby’s immediate environment so that dust mite allergy can be prevented which might fasten the onset of the baby’s atopic dermatitis. Parents with a history of allergies or with kids having allergies need to be extra careful and utilize environmental control means so that dust mites can be removed which may trigger allergies in the baby. Even though dust mites may not immediately trigger any allergic reactions, if the child’s exposure to them remains uncontrolled, then they could cause serious problems. Not only dust mites but also allergen production needs to be controlled that are transported by the dust mites. (Zimmerman, 2005)

Most people are derailed quite easily by the misleading concept that the animal fur causes them to have allergic reactions. But these reactions are actually caused by the dander of the animal which is small scales or dead skin of the animal that flakes out when the skin regenerates itself. But if a baby is allergic to dander then it is better if the cat or dog is removed from its immediate environment since dander being small and light becomes airborne. Sometimes the urine and saliva of the animals can also carry allergens which the baby might come in contact with triggering immediate allergic reactions in him. (Bos, 2008)

Mothers and babies should both take fish oils. Fish oil supplements contain Omega-3 which has the potential of significantly lessening the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. This is because Omega-3 is capable of reducing the level of leukotriene B4 in the baby’s body which mainly promotes the disease. But the fish oils taken should always be of pharmaceutical grade and molecularly distilled so that there are no impurities in it. Pregnant women should also take fish oil supplements since it increases the level of DHA present in the body. During breastfeeding this DHA gets passed into the babies which helps him to fight atopic dermatitis. (Hanifin, 2007)

Probiotics contain helpful bacteria called Lactobacillus that reside in one’s digestive system and protect us from the development of disease causing organisms. Pregnant women as well as babies should consume probiotics till they are about 6 months since it can protect them from atopic dermatitis for at least 2 more years. (Ayelet, 2009) When mothers take probiotic supplements, the amount of anti-inflammatory molecules gets increased in their breast milk which when passed on the babies help them in fighting the allergies. Probiotic supplements should be consumed by pregnant women when they reach the 8th month of their pregnancy. Probiotics strengthen the immune system of the babies decreasing the development of atopic dermatitis in them by almost 30%. (Joo, 2009)

There are very limited numbers of medications that can be given to babies in order to reduce the risk of developing asthma in them. One of them which have shown some promise is Zyrtec or Cetirzine. It is an antihistamine and is used for treating hypersensitive reaction and allergies. This medication has been found to immensely reduce the progression of asthma in babies who also have problems of atopic dermatitis. It not only prevents allergic symptoms but also hives and skin rashes that are caused by the disease. Doctors can also try and give immunotherapy to the children since this too lessens the chance of development of asthma in children. By using this therapy the onset of asthma can be postponed for years, even when the baby has stopped taking the medicine shots. (Junichi, 2009)

References

Ayelet, S.A. (2009) The Relationship Between Sensory Hypersensitivity and Sleep Quality of Children with Atopic Dermatitis. Pediatric Dermatology 26(2), 143-149.

Bergmann, T. (2008). Atopic dermatitis in early infancy predicts allergic airway disease at 5 years. Clinical & Experimental Allergy 28(8),965-970.

Bos, J.D. (2008). Atopic dermatitis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology 7(2), 101-114.

Diepgen, T.L. (2006). Model-based Clustering of Binary Longitudinal Atopic Dermatitis Disease Histories by Latent Class Mixture Models. Biometrical Journal 48(1), 105-116.

Hanifin, J.M. (2007). Characterization of cAMP-phosphodiesterase as a possible laboratory marker of atopic dermatitis. Drug Development Research 13(2-3), 123-136.

Henriksen, A. (2008). Atopic Dermatitis Among 2-Year Olds; High Prevalence, but Predominantly Mild Disease. Pediatric Dermatology 25(1) 13-18.

Junichi, H. (2009). Severity of disease, rather than xerosis, correlates with pruritus in patients with atopic dermatitis. International Journal of Dermatology 48(4) 374-378.

Joo, S.S. (2009). Therapeutic advantages of medicinal herbs fermented with ‘Lactobacillus plantarum’, in topical application and its activities on atopic dermatitis. Phytotherapy Research 23(7), 913-919.

Meduri, N.B. (2007). Phototherapy in the management of atopic dermatitis: a systematic review. Photoimmunol Photomed 23(4), 106–12.

Zimmerman, T. (2005). The Objective Severity Assessment of Atopic Dermatitis (OSAAD) score: validity, reliability and sensitivity in adult patients with atopic dermatitis. British Journal of Dermatology 153(4), 767-773.

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