dermatitis

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dermatitis

(dûr'mətī`tĭs), nonspecific irritation of the skin. The causative agent may be a bacterium, fungus, or parasite; it can also be a foreign substance, known as an allergen. Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to a substance that comes in contact with the skin, such as soap. Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczemaeczema
, acute or chronic skin disease characterized by redness, itching, serum-filled blisters, crusting, and scaling. Predisposing factors are familial history of allergic disorders (hay fever, asthma, or eczema) and sensitivity to contact allergens or certain foods.
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, is a chronic, itching inflammation that tends to run in families susceptible to asthma and hay fever. Stasis dermatitis, or eczema of the legs, is caused by poor circulation and is found in older persons suffering from vascular disorders. When dermatitis is chronic it tends to cause thickening, pigmentation, and scaling, and when acute, a red, itching area of blisters and oozing.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dermatitis

 

inflammation of the skin caused by the direct exposure to various environmental agents—mechanical, physical, or chemical.

The irritants that cause dermatitis may be classified as unconditional or conditional. Unconditional irritants are those that can cause dermatitis in anyone (for example, strong acids, alkalis, high and low temperatures). Conditional irritants are those that cause dermatitis only in persons highly sensitive to them (the so-called allergic dermatitides). Dermatitis is considered either acute or chronic, according to the course of the inflammation. Depending on the nature, strength , and duration of exposure to the irritant, acute dermatitides are characterized either only by reddening and swelling of the skin or by the appearance on reddened skin of blisters that burst to form excoriations: less commonly they are characterized by necrosis and the formation of ulcers. These dermatitides are accompanied by a burning sensation, fever , tingling, sometimes pain, and, less commonly, itching. Chronic dermatitides, resulting from prolonged exposure to comparatively weak irritants, are characterized by a dull bluish color, intensified skin markings, and more or less pronounced thickening of the horny layer.

Dermatitides develop mainly at the site exposed to the irritant. When the irritant is removed, the inflammation disappears relatively quickly. Dermatitides are often seen in industry (occupational dermatitides) and sometimes as a result of therapy (for example, salve dermatitis, radiation burns). Among the mechanical causes of dermatitis, prolonged pressure and friction (formation of sores, usually on the feet, because of poorly fitting shoes, or on the palms, from the friction of oars or the unusual pressure of instruments) are of the most practical importance. The physical factors include high and low temperatures (burns, frostbites) and radiation (solar rays, X rays, and radioactive radiation). Dermatitis is most often caused by chemical factors, the number of organic and inorganic chemical compounds that cause dermatitis is large and keeps increasing with the development of industry. Dermatitis results most often from exposure to turpentine, nickel salts, chromium compounds, and dyes (particularly Ursol, which is used to dye fur and sometimes hair). Some pharmacological agents may cause conditional dermatitides in medical personnel and patients (Novocaine, mercury compounds, certain antibiotics). Dermatitis may result from contact with certain plants. Some of the more than 100 of these plants are unconditional irritants (crowfoot, spurge, fraxinella), others (for example, primulas) may be conditional irritants.

Anti-inflammatory agents, in the form of lotions, salves, and pastes, are used in treating dermatitides. In industry, dermatitis can be prevented by eliminating contact between workers and chemical compounds and supplying workers with special protective clothing and individual protective devices, such as shields, masks, aprons, and gloves.

REFERENCES

Mashkilleison, L. M. Lechenie i profilaktika kozhnykh boleznei, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography.)
Pavlov, S. T. Kozhnye i venericheskie bolezni. Leningrad, 1969. Pages 204-23.

S. T. PAVLOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

dermatitis

[‚dər·mə′tīd·əs]
(medicine)
Inflammation of the skin.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dermatitis

inflammation of the skin
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Occupational dermatitis is said to be one of the most prevalent industrial diseases, accounting for 3% of all sickness absence.
In occupational dermatitis, I often advise patients to rub in a good coating of a barrier, such as Eucerin, before beginning the day's work or use some kind of protective hand cover whenever possible.
Allergens were taken out of refrigerator 15 min before testing and required amount is placed over the aluminum chambers (contact and occupational dermatitis forum of India guidelines were followed)
Compensation for occupational dermatitis is now frequently in excess of 100,000 [pounds sterling].
Perhaps one of the most common problems for workers in the plant and engineering sectors is Occupational Dermatitis. More than half of all working time lost through industrial diseases is due to Dermatitis.

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