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Frequent soaks ease pediatric atopic dermatitis



A regimen of twice-daily baths followed by occlusive moisturizer improved atopic dermatitis in children with moderate to severe disease more effectively than did a twice-weekly protocol, based on data from 42 children.

Guidelines for bathing frequency for children with atopic dermatitis are inconsistent and often confusing for parents, according to Ivan D. Cardona, MD, of Maine Medical Research Institute, Portland, and colleagues.

In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, the researchers randomized 42 children aged 6 months to 11 years with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis to a routine of twice-weekly “soak and seal” (SS) procedures consisting of soaking baths for 10 minutes or less, followed by an occlusive emollient, or to twice-daily SS with baths of 15-20 minutes followed by emollient. The groups were treated for 2 weeks, then switched protocols. The study included a total of four clinic visits over 5 weeks. All patients also received standard of care low-potency topical corticosteroids and moisturizer.

Overall, the frequent bathing (“wet method”) led to a decrease of 21.2 on the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis Index (SCORAD) compared with the less frequent bathing (“dry method”). Improvements in SCORAD (the primary outcome) correlated with a secondary outcome of improved scores on the parent-rated Atopic Dermatitis Quickscore.

The findings were limited by several factors including the small sample size, large rate of attrition prior to randomization among initially screened children, lack of data on environmental factors such as water temperature and quality, and the lack of a washout period between the treatment protocols, the researchers noted. They acknowledged that “twice-daily SS bathing in the real world can be time consuming, making adherence difficult for families.”

However, the results suggest that the frequent bathing protocol was safe and effective at improving symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and may reduce steroid use, they concluded.

The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Cardona ID et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019 Nov 13. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.10.042.

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