What are the benefits of wet dressings in the treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Wet dressings are very useful for diverse types of atopic dermatitic flares and severe recalcitrant atopic dermatitis. [30] They can be used on dry lichenified lesions to improve hydration and increase the penetration of topical corticosteroids; they also work well to dry weeping or oozing lesions via evaporation. The cooling sensation on the skin that results from slow evaporation with wet dressings has an anti-inflammatory effect and suppresses itching. The mechanical barrier of the wet dressing also prevents scratching, allows more rapid healing of lesions, and offers protection from contact with allergens and bacteria. Care should be taken to use only adequately diluted corticosteroid preparations (if used) under occlusive dressings to prevent hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression and local adverse effects on the skin. Wet wrap implementation should be delayed at least 2-3 days after beginning antibiotic treatment for superinfected lesions to allow for observation of clinical improvement of infected sores. [3]

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