Is That…Contagious? The Good, The Bad, and The Itchy of Living with Atopic Dermatitis

It all started when I was in elementary school. The red, itchy rashes on my neck, elbows, and knees made it hard for me to get through the day without someone asking what was wrong with me. If I wasn’t directly being asked, I was hearing whispers about my red patches from across the room.
“Look at her.” “Don’t get too close.” “I bet it’s contagious.”

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Contagious. That word hurt more than the rest combined. I didn’t have the flu. I wasn’t walking around spreading my condition all over the place. I had atopic dermatitis. I understand now that I’m older that the bullying I experienced then from my peers can mostly be chalked up to the unawareness that comes along with simply being a child. Unfortunately, to this day I still experience some of the same types of bullying.

Let’s start with some of the facts. Atopic Dermatitis is not contagious. You can’t catch it and you can’t give it to someone else. If I sit next to you on the train, you will not develop atopic dermatitis. If I shake your hand during a business meeting, you won’t catch anything from me.

There are also times when my skin is calm, and my atopic dermatitis seems to almost go away. My symptoms may rear their ugly head again with a rash or itchiness because of a trigger. Some examples of things that might trigger an atopic dermatitis flare are certain perfumes and skin care products, detergents and soaps, stress, and hot showers or baths.

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While there’s currently no cure for atopic dermatitis, avoiding things that can trigger symptoms can help to ease and possibly even prevent flares from happening. I’ve learned that gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent is the only thing that I can use to wash my clothes. I’m still learning what skin care products work best for me, but aren’t we all?

If you or someone you love is struggling with atopic dermatitis symptoms, research studies may be an option. Those that qualify to participate in these atopic dermatitis studies may receive study-related care and medication at no cost, have access to possible new treatment options and receive compensation for time and travel. Explore your options and consider being a part of a research study. Click HERE   to view our enrolling studies.