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Atopic dermatitis is a red, itchy rash common in infants and children. It’s estimated that eczema affects 11 percent of children in the United States. Atopic dermatitis is often the first sign that a child may develop food allergies, asthma, or allergic reactions to airborne substances such as pollen and animal dander that affect their nose and eyes.
A combination of factors — including genetics, environmental conditions, defects in the immune system, and breakdown of the skin barrier — is responsible for atopic dermatitis.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It helps the body retain moisture and protects it from bacteria, irritants, and allergens.
Some eczema is related to a genetic variation that affects the skin’s ability to perform its protective role. Often, a patient will have a personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever, or asthma.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms include:
The physician will do a physical exam and take a complete medical history, since other family members may also have atopic dermatitis, asthma, food allergies, or hay fever.
He or she may order blood tests or skin tests.
A variety of options can help: