Question: Should my child be kept on chronic antibiotics for recurrent skin infections? Are there other treatments?
Answer: We know that our patients with atopic dermatitis are heavily colonized and frequently infected by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Unfortunately, putting these patients on prolonged courses of antibiotics is not the answer, because what happens is that these patients eventually become colonized by resistant organisms -- and I think we all recognize what a emerging health problem resistant bacteria are in our communities.
Other strategies to try to decrease colonization or infection by these organisms would include all of the measures that we use to maintain a healthy skin barrier, which, in fact, will be the best defense against these microbes. So basic skin care measures, like hydration of the skin, maintaining a healthy moisturized barrier in using anti-inflammatory or healing medications, whether topical steroids or non-steroid medications, will all work together to decrease colonization and, ultimately, infection of the skin of our patients.
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