- What is Atopic Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a skin disorder that is very common in children and usually disappears during childhood. It can however, carry on into adult life. Eczema is the term used to describe changes in the upper layer of the skin which includes redness, blistering, oozing, crusting, scaling, thickening and sometimes changes in pigmentation. Eczema and Dermatitis are the same thing. It affects males and females equally and usually starts in the first weeks or months of life.
The cause of eczema is not fully understood but we do have a somewhat better understanding of the condition in recent years thanks to ongoing genetic research. It is now widely accepted that hereditary factors play a role in the onset of childhood atopic eczema. There is often a family history of “atopic” conditions such as asthma, eczema and hay fever. If both parents have eczema, there is an 80% chance that their children will too. It is also accepted that environmental factors, also known as ‘triggers’, may play a part in the onset of atopic eczema.
- Is my childs eczema caused by an allergy?
No, eczema is not caused by a specific allergen. However, children with eczema are more prone to allergic reactions and this may exacerbate the condition.
- What are the symptoms of eczema?
The distribution of eczema may change with age; babies can be affected from head to toe. As the child gets older the most affected areas tend to be the elbows, knees, wrists and around the neck. The skin can appear dry, scaly and red. When the eczema is very active (during a flare-up), small water blisters may develop on the hands and feet. The skin may become moist and weepy, which usually suggests that it has become infected. Over time, the skin may become thickened due to repeated scratching.
- What are the triggering factors?
There are several factors that may trigger an attack. It is important that you observe your own child in order to identify their specific trigger. By identifying these triggers, it may be possible to remove or reduce your child’s exposure to them.
Most common triggers:
Heat, dust, grass and pollen
Bacterial or viral infections – The common cold can cause a flare-up
Synthetic or woollen fabrics
Biological detergents and some fabric conditioners
Cats and Dogs
- Can Atopic Eczema be cured?
No, but it can be managed through different methods. See our Top Tips for more information on this.