Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) in children
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) is a condition that affects the skin, causing redness, itching and oozing.
Eczema mostly occurs in infants, with around 1 in 5 children under 2 years of age affected1. It is common for people with eczema to have or develop allergies, suggesting that inherited (genetic) factors play a role in eczema development. There is currently no cure available for eczema, but it can be effectively treated and managed.
Children with food allergy often have eczema in early childhood2. Food allergy may make eczema worse for some people, but is not the cause.
In people with eczema the skin barrier is less effective than in people who do not have eczema. In eczema there is a reduced production of fats and oils and the skin therefore has less water retaining properties. This means that skin with eczema does not provide the protection from the environment that normal skin does.
For more information see:
(1) Mullins RJ et al. The economic impact of allergic disease in Australia: not to be sneezed at. ASCIA/Access Economics Report. Nov 2007
(2) Greenhawt MD. The role of food allergy in atopic dermatitis. Allergy Asthma Proc 2010; 31:392-397
Content updated October 2012