Skill Checkup: An 11-Year-Old Girl With Severe Nighttime Itchiness

Diamant Thaçi, MD, PhD


April 14, 2022

The presence of high numbers of the S aureus bacteria on the skin of children and adults with AD is common. It is widely believed that staph bacteria may play a role in causing skin inflammation, but the routine use of oral antibiotic therapy to decrease the amount of bacteria on the skin has not been definitively shown to reduce the signs, symptoms (eg, redness or itch), or severity of AD.

Although it can be difficult to determine the presence of a skin infection in patients with AD, oral antibiotics should only be used to treat patients with evidence of bacterial infection in conjunction with other standard and appropriate treatments for AD. In fact, one recent study had shown that that early exposure to antibiotics may predispose to AD later in life.

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