What is eczema?
Eczema is a complex disorder of the skin that causes inflammation and itchy rashes. Eczema symptoms include a dry, itchy, red rash on the face, arms, or legs, especially in the folds of the knees and elbows. Patients with eczema exacerbate the disorder by itching and scratching at their skin. Eczema triggers include food, airborne pathogens and bacterial products.
Food allergy and eczema
Incidence of eczema have increased significantly in the past thirty years. In the U.S. today, about 1 in every 10 infants has eczema. Studies of eczema in infants are varied, but suggest that in approximately 40% of infants with eczema, food allergies are also prevalent. In children with severe eczema, food allergy is even more prevalent. Therefore, all infants with persistent eczema should be seen by an allergist and evaluated for food allergies.
Most common food allergies in people with eczema
Of young children with food allergies and eczema, 90% have an allergy to one of the following foods:
- cow’s milk
- hen’s eggs
For adults and older children, allergy-related eczema flares are more often caused by inhaled allergens like pollen and dust mites. (NOTE: Air purifiers don’t work as well to eliminate dust mite allergens because the particles are so large.)
Eczema treatment plan
- Make an appointment with an allergist for yourself or your child with eczema.
- Antihistamines may provide some itch relief.
- Topical cortisone creams help to control skin inflammation.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a secondary infection.
- Avoid proven food allergens in your diet.
- Hydrate skin with moisturizer.