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Following the physician’s instructions is crucial for keeping AD under control. This takes a lot of time and effort. Some sufferers may resent the effort or even deny that their skin needs special care. Resentment and denial are natural reactions to any disease. Failure to overcome these reactions, however, can lead to additional behavior that is harmful to the skin, such as wearing fabrics that irritate the skin, missing skin treatments, and forgetting medications.
Include skin care along with all other activities of daily living such as brushing and flossing teeth or washing dinner dishes. It is important to maintain a flexible attitude so that when the dermatitis flares and extra skin care is needed, it can be worked into the routine.
To cope with the stress in your life, you must first notice when and how often stressful situations arise. These include day-to-day hassles as well as major events such as a job change, money problems, legal difficulties, family illness, etc. Ask yourself, “How do I react to stress? How does my body feel when I am stressed?”
Certain approaches to reducing stress can be done on your own, such as setting priorities and organizing your time. Some activities that may reduce stress are regular aerobic exercise, hobbies, and meditation. Other approaches may require expert assistance such as a brief consultation with a psychologist.
Keep a record of times and situations when scratching is worst, and try to limit your exposure to such situations. Many people with AD scratch the most during idle times. Engaging in a structured activity with other people or keeping busy with activities that involve the use of your hands may help prevent scratching. Control your environment. Avoid irritants and allergens. Avoid low humidity. Wear cotton clothing. Guard against infection. Moisturize.