The Importance of Treating Atopic Dermatitis Early

You may have noticed your child’s symptoms before – their skin is dry, itchy, red, and swollen. Scratching only seems to make it worse and them more miserable as a result. You’ve tried topical creams, ointments, and lotions but for some reason the symptoms keep coming and going, leaving you stumped. It probably hasn’t even crossed your mind that allergies may be to blame.

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a long-term skin disease that is often caused by allergy and is usually rooted genetically in patients. It can be thought of as a type of skin allergy or sensitivity most common in the first few years of life, causing scaly white patches and inflammation of the skin.

From a simple Google search, the treatment options for atopic dermatitis are limited and often serve only a means to manage itchy and swelling skin. You may ask, “Is there a treatment option that addresses the root cause of eczema instead of temporarily masking the symptoms?” The answer is yes.

Instead of relying on Internet searches to answer my questions about eczema, I sat down with an expert, Dr. Neelu Kalra, a board-certified allergist at Allergy Associates of La Crosse. Dr. Kalra is especially interested in understanding what triggers atopic dermatitis and using allergy drop immunotherapy as a primary treatment method for her patients who suffer from atopic dermatitis.

“Immunotherapy is the only disease-modifying treatment for allergies,” said Dr. Kalra. “Other approaches, like skin care regimens, manage the symptoms while immunotherapy, such as using allergy drops, modifies the immune system’s reactions to problem allergens.”

There are many different allergens and irritants that trigger symptoms for sensitive people such as soaps, cleaners, fabrics, smoke, dust mite, mold, pollen, animal dander, as well as problem foods. These items may exacerbate atopic dermatitis symptoms immediately or within a few days of exposure. And this may only be the beginning. Research has linked atopic dermatitis to the first stage of the allergic march, where subsequent conditions such as allergic rhinitis and asthma develop later on in life.

“Atopic dermatitis is usually seen in infancy, but it can continue on and progress into other conditions if it isn’t treated in a timely manner,” noted Dr. Kalra. “Allergy immunotherapy, if used early, may even help patients completely eliminate eczema and halt the development of other allergy-related complications in the future.”

So instead of using topical creams to mask, cover, and temporarily manage your or your child’s eczema symptoms over and over again, talk with your local allergy provider about allergy testing options. Once you can identify the triggers of atopic dermatitis, you can treat them directly with precision allergy drop therapy with the end goal of eliminating them entirely.