Does Your Baby Have a Rash?: The Eczema and Asthma Connection

“Research indicates that the early treatment of eczema may decrease the risk for developing asthma.”

Baby with Eczema

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis (AD), is one of the most common skin disorders seen in infants and children.  It usually begins during the first six months of life. Approximately half of patients with AD will go on to develop asthma. The more severe the AD, the greater the likelihood of developing asthma.  Also, two thirds of patients with AD will develop allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever.  In one study looking at 1,314 children over a span of seven years, researchers found that 50% of the children with AD and a family history of asthma developed asthma.

Most children display the natural progression of allergic symptoms call the “atopic march”.  Eczema is considered the beginning phase of the development of other allergic diseases. Most patients’ eczema resolves at puberty or shortly thereafter only to develop allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Children with eczema are at high risk for developing asthma.  Fortunately, research indicates that the early treatment of eczema may decrease the risk for developing asthma. Skin testing the child to determine allergic triggers is the first step to developing an effective therapeutic plan.  The plan may include dietary management for food allergies including the gradual introduction of solid foods to infants. Topical creams may be prescribed. Indoor allergens are considered to have the strongest effect on the development of asthma in high-risk individuals. Reducing indoor allergen exposure will be of great benefit.

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