DERMATITIS ATOPICA OVERVIEW
JE ME FORME
Professeur d’anglais aux Ifsi de Nancy auteur de Maîtriser l’anglais médical, L’Anglais médical pratique et L’Anglais en ergothérapie, Éd. Lamarre
A resident nurse (RS) is training a young intern nurse (IN) on what Atopic Dermatitis is.
RS : So, to begin, can I ask you what Atopic Dermatitis (AD), or eczema, is?
IN : Basically, it’s a skin condition where the skin becomes red and itchy. As far as I know, it may occur to anybody at any time, though it’s more common in children. And, well, it can be soothed by topical creams and disappear.
RS : Not so fast. It should be noted that it’s a chronic condition that comes and goes every now and then, and may even be accompanied by fever and asthma, and that there’s no cure for it. However, treatments and patient education for self-care can relieve the itching and prevent new outbreaks. In this sense, do you know what measures can be taken?
IN : I suppose that it helps to avoid harsh soaps, moisturize the skin regularly and apply adapted creams and ointments.
RS : This is it. And now let’s review the symptoms. Any specific information that you know about that ?
IN : Typically, as we said, the skin becomes red and itchy.
RS : Yes, but there’s more to that. I mean it varies from one person to another, and the itching can be especially harsh at night. We might also see red to brownish-gray spots, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp. Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched can also be noticed. The skin may thicken, get cracked and scaly, and it can become rough, sensitive and swollen from scratching.
IN : But then what are the actual causes of the AD ?
RS : It is usually related to a genetic modification that prevents the skin from retaining moisture and protecting it from bacteria, allergens and irritants. There can also be some family history for this condition.
IN : But then, when should one see a doctor ?
RS : Generally, when it becomes so uncomfortable that it affects daily living and sleep, or when there’s some infection and fever.
IN : Are there any specific measures, or care, that should be taken when the diagnosis has been confirmed.
RS : First of all, we might try to identify what triggers flares, like sweat, obesity, stress, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen or even allergy from food like wheat, soy, eggs and milk. Then, some tips should always be considered to prevent flares and reduce skin dryness. Skin should be moisturized at least twice a day by using appropriate creams, ointments and lotions. Showers and baths are better when limited to 15 minutes maximum, with warm, not hot water. In this sense, some antibacterial shower or bath gels or soaps can be used, that should in all cases be mild so as not to remove the natural oils from the skin and therefore make it drier. And after a shower or a bath, the skin should be dried with a soft towel and moisturizers should be applied while the skin is still damp.
IN : Well, now I guess I know better and should be able to give advice when needed.
RS : No doubt about that.
Affection de la peau
Creams and ointments
Crèmes et pommades
Sensitive and swollen
Sensible et gonflé
Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that occurs in flares, where the skin becomes red and itchy, may be accompanied by fever and asthma, but can be soothed by topical creams.
→ La dermatite atopique est une affection chronique de la peau qui se manifeste par des poussées où la peau devient rouge et démange. Elle peut être accompagnée de fièvre et d’asthme, mais peut être calmée par des crèmes.
We might see red to brownish-gray spots, particularly on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees and, in infants, the face and scalp.
→ On peut voir des taches rouges à gris brunâtre, en particulier sur les mains, les pieds, les chevilles, les poignets, le cou, le haut de la poitrine, les paupières, le pli des coudes et des genoux et,chez les nourrissons, le visage et le cuir chevelu.
Treatments and patient education for self-care can relieve the itching and prevent new outbreaks.
→ Les traitements et l’éducation des patients en matière d’autosoins peuvent soulager les démangeaisons et prévenir de nouvelles poussées.
It helps to avoid harsh soaps, moisturize the skin regularly and apply adapted creams and ointments.
→ Il est utile d’éviter les savons agressifs, d’hydrater régulièrement la peau et d’appliquer des crèmes et des pommades adaptées.