Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as atopic eczema, is a long-term type of inflammation of the skin (dermatitis). It results in itchy, red, swollen, and cracked skin. Clear fluid may come from the affected areas, which often thickens over time. While the condition may occur at any age, it typically starts in childhood, with changing severity over the years. In children under one year of age, much of the body may be affected. As children get older, the areas on the insides of the knees and elbows are most commonly affected. In adults, the hands and feet are most commonly affected. Scratching the affected areas worsens the symptoms, and those affected have an increased risk of skin infections. Many people with atopic dermatitis develop hay fever or asthma.
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