MEDI-TRIVIA Vol. 2: Asthma on your Skin?

Whenever we hear or read the word “asthma”, we right away conclude that one is suffering from a respiratory condition in which it is marked by constriction in the bronchi of the lungs. Thus, causes one person difficulty in breathing.

But skin asthma is different. It is a type of skin inflammation which is also called as atopic dermatitis or eczema. This is a condition that makes your skin red and very itchy. It is called skin asthma because from atopic dermatitis in infants it can develop into asthma that is related to the respiratory condition or hay fever and allergic rhinitis in children. This progression is called as atopic march. Atopic dermatitis may persist for several years while on some may resolve with increasing age.
Atopy is defined as a personal or familial propensity to produce IgE antibodies and sensitization in response to environmental triggers such as dust, pollen or house mites. 
The hygiene hypothesis 
Aside from the familial predisposition, one factor that contributes to this condition is the so-called hygiene hypothesis. This states that a ack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. That is why we sometimes wonder what those who are living in unsanitary area don’t develop some diseases.
Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms may vary from person to person and this includes severe itchiness and it may worsen at night. It is thickened, cracked dry, scaly skin and red to brown patches on the flexor areas. It can be seen on the hands, ankles, wrists, neck or eyelids and even armpits. Some can be small raised bumps and reddish. It can also bubble up, then ooze and weep fluid on your hands.

What to do and what not to do?

Do not rub it! Even though it is very itchy because it will only worsen the situation. It can spread to the other parts of your body. Place an ice cold pack on the itchy areas to prevent your from scratching. And be sure to cut your nails short.

Do not pour an isopropyl alcohol to ease the itchiness! It is considered as an irritant to the skin and it will make your skin dry which makes it prone to invasion of bacteria. Use steroid creams which can be bought over the counter.

Keep hydrated. Hydration is one key in alleviating atopic dermatitis. Because a part of the problemtof AD is that it loses the barrier function on your skin. This will keep your skin moist.
Avoid house mites. These are one of the factors that triggers AD. You can find this in your carpet, pillows, blankets and towels. So make it a habit to clean these every two weeks and it is important to place your pillows under the sun once in awhile.
Wear cotton clothing. This is recommended because it is smooth and it will let your skin breath so it can keep cool. Remember, sweat can also trigger eczema. And do not wear clothes that were not used for how many months already. Dusts and house mites may have accumulated on those.

Avoid allergy-causing food. such as egg, peanuts, dried fish, chicken or any thing that is allergic to your system.
Develop a good skin care routine. It can be simple like taking a bath daily, wash your face and body before you sleep. Apply non-scented lotion. Avoid using scrubs or a loofah daily. 
When AD hasn’t resolve after trying to alleviate the symptoms and it has already persisted for more than a week or two weeks, it is better to see a doctor. 🙂
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Marica, a 20-something lady who loves to explore new things in the world while juggling her life in the medical field.


  1. I have a friend who has this and for sometime, it keeps on coming back. I wonder if it's because of dust or it's in his genes. After scarring, new ones [red pigments and inflammation] would emerge again.

  2. So that's what those are called! I think I've seen maybe one or two of my old friends back when I was little have them, but would just get treated sort of like, probinsya-style where they'd just put some leaves on the patches or something which never really worked until they were brought to a proper doctor.

  3. This reminds me of the time I had German measles and eczema! The itch really drives me crazy that I cannot get any sleep at all. Yes, it does help if you don't scratch or rub on it violently. I used to scratch it violently because it is super itchy and I just cry because I can't help it. I feel helpless. Alcohol does provide a very temporary relief but it has a burning sensation after. Hahaha! So alcohol is a big NO NO! Putting ice does help and wearing something cool helps too. Synthetic fibers tend to irritate our skin, making it more itchy. Oh by the way, scrubbing our skin everyday is not good! Loofah or body brush every other day is fine. 🙂

  4. I've known some people who have skin asthma and those who are allergic to dust. Do people with allergic reactions to dust have more obvious symptoms? I'd like to know.

    Thanks for this informative post on skin asthma, Marica. 🙂 I hope you do more posts on the more unknown diseases or misconceptions about common ones.

  5. I think I had this before. It is just freaking hard not to scratch it. I just usually rub my palms together to create heat then touch the affected part. Is it ok to do that?

    PS My skin is itching while looking at the photos. 😉

  6. I know someone who experience this the same with bungag singot sa bisaya.. dont know the english term.. haha but i know someone like that.. i might recommend this post..

  7. Exposure to infectious agents has benefits at times when it comes to developing your immune system. Always have yourself or your kids an opportunity to play at the beach on the sand or anything that will expose you from being in a bubble. Thanks for sharing this very informative post.

  8. My skin is really sensitive and I get itchies all over (those that look like little bubbles with water inside) but I haven't gotten skin asthma before, I think. I hope you discuss more about skin conditions, like the one I have. I look forward to more medi trivia! 😀

  9. WOW! I've been using alcohol every time I feel itchy and didn't even know that it is bad. Thank you for the key points. I personally doesn't have any asthma but I do have allergic rhinitis. So this key points are useful to me as well. =) Thanks


  10. I'm so thankful I don't have asthma or any allergies (or at least wala pa nako na discover). My little sister though is allergic in most seafood and maluoy ko niya dili sya kakaon ug anything like shrimp or crab kay mangatol jud sya pag ayo. I also agree nga dili mag butang ug isopropyl alcohol kay yes it'll just dry up the skin. Thanks for all the information! 🙂

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