by Milo Vassallo, M.D., Ph.D.
Eczema – also known as “atopic dermatitis” – is a common skin condition that affects many people at some point in their lifetime. Though all of the factors that cause eczema are unknown it is more common in people who are have allergies. Eczema can be made worse by environmental allergens such as dust mites, animal dander and season changes. The classic eczema rash is very itchy, red, slightly raised, and at times weeps or oozes and can occur almost anywhere on the body – however in children the face, arms, legs are most common.
People with eczema often have other allergic conditions such as:
- food allergies
- frequent runny and or stuffy noses
- sinus problems
- seasonal allergy symptoms such as itchy watery eyes, sneezing
- pet allergies
Young children are more likely to have severe eczema and may outgrow it by later childhood.
Eczema is often the first sign of an allergic child and can even develop in the first months after birth.
Allergists are experts who understand and treat environmental allergies, food allergies and who also specialize in understanding the function of the allergic immune system. Because of this, Allergists are uniquely able to diagnose and treat eczema with a broad treatment plan.
Evaluation of a patient with eczema usual consists of a physical exam (with a focused skin exam), allergy testing to environmental allergens (such as dust, animal dander and pollens) and in some cases (especially in children) food allergy testing.