Atopic Dermatitis Center Research and Innovation

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The Atopic Dermatitis Center, located within the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital Boston, knows that if your child has atopic dermatitis, you’ve probably struggled with how to help her skin from itching and causing painful irritation. Experts in our center are here to help you every step of the way.

Evaluation

During the first visit, a nurse practitioner will review your child's medical history with you and will perform a physical examination.

  • family history of allergies or asthma
  • patient’s personal history of allergies and asthma
  • skin examination

After we complete all necessary tests, our experts will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment plan. We'll also provide you with information about atopic dermatitis, skin care and food allergy and will answer any questions you might have.

The evaluation may take one or more visits.

Treatment:

Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, treatment can decrease your child’s skin dryness and irritation. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the case of atopic dermatitis.

Many children with atopic dermatitis have an underlying skin barrier defect that requires them to take special care of their skin for their whole lives. In this case, they need to avoid irritants and may need to use moisturizers daily, which helps to decrease itching and flaking.

In severe cases, physicians may prescribe your child medications, such as steroid creams or antibiotics, to help alleviate her atopic dermatitis symptoms.

If a food allergy is triggering your child’s atopic dermatitis, we will identify the food allergen and remove it from your child’s diet. During this time, your child will receive treatment for skin inflammation.

The key factors in our approach to treatment include:

  • Our nurses, who manage all of your child’s care and work closely with the attending doctor. 
  • Education and support to both you and your child about atopic dermatitis, skin care and food allergies.
  • Since many food allergies can be prevented with diet therapy, our nutritionist works closely with the child and family to develop a proper nutrition treatment plan.
  • A psychologist or behavioral therapist may meet with you to listen to your concerns and help you and your child learn ways to cope with the itching and scratching of atopic dermatitis. 

Research

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Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s most extensive research enterprise at a pediatric hospital.

Atopic Dermatitis Research

Atopic Dermatitis Center, a program within the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s, develops treatments informed by research.   Lynda Schneider, MD, is a principal investigator for the NIH Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (ADRN) which is focused on atopic dermatitis (AD) and its association with both immune and skin barrier defects. (ADRNStudy@childrens.harvard.edu)  Dr. Schneider is also an investigator for a long term study of children who have used topical tacrolimus ointment. 

Food Allergy Research

Dr. Schneider, Umetsu and Rachid are conducting studies to evaluate desensitization for peanut allergy in children and young adults.  If you or your child are interested in participating contact 617-355-6127.

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