What Is Eczema?
The word eczema means dermatitis, which is an inflammation of the skin. There are different types of eczema. The most common type of eczema in children is atopic eczema.
The child with eczema has sensitive skin, which is irritated very easily. Their sensitive skin often is itchy, and the eczematous rash results from the scratching or rubbing of the extremely itchy skin
. While it is apparent from observing a child with atopic eczema that the rash is very itchy.
Why Does My Child Have Eczema?
Atopic eczema is believed to be a genetic disorder resulting in sensitive skin
. It tends to be associated with the predisposition to become allergic to foods and substances in the air such as pollens, molds, animal danders, and dust mites. Some children with eczema develop severe allergic reactions to foods and many develop asthma and hay fever symptoms as they get older. There are many external factors which may influence eczema on a day to day basis; some are irritants and some may be from allergy.
Will My Child "Grow Out" Of Eczema?
The tendency for sensitive skin may remain even into teenage years or beyond. Most cases for the child eczema will gradually improve as they get older. Many are better by the age of 3 years, and most will have only occasional trouble by the time they are teenagers. It is estimated that about 2/3 of children "outgrow" their eczema, although they may always have a tendency for dry skin.
Is Eczema Due To An Allergy?
No, atopic eczema is not caused by any specific allergy. Since this is the case only for some children, restricting diets as a general treatment of atopic eczema is not useful. However, when allergic antibody is demonstrated to a specific food by skin testing or a special blood test (called a RAST for radioallergosorbent test), the possibility that the food can worsen atopic eczema should be investigated by a food challenge under medical observation.Observations
This is done by first withdrawing the food from the diet for two weeks and then giving the child that food while under medical observation. The most frequent observation that demonstrates the possibility that the food is worsening the eczema is the presence of redness and itching, particularly at the site of the eczema, within an hour (and usually sooner) after ingestion of the food. When there are multiple foods to which allergic antibody is demonstrated, the most important ones to consider are those that are frequently in the diet.Will Allergy Tests Help My Child's Eczema?
Allergy tests identify the type of antibody that can cause allergic reactions. Children with atopic eczema are prone to make allergic antibody to many things that they eat, contact, and inhale. Some, but certainly not all of the allergic antibodies developed in a child may cause clinical problems. Allergy tests can also provide information about the risk of severe anaphylactic reactions (generalized hives with or without difficulty breathing), allergic rhinitis (runny or stuffy nose, sneezing), allergic conjunctivitis.* Note: Image(s) the courtesy of http://www.dreamstime.com.