Eczema: What Patients with Allergies Should Know
You may already know that allergies and asthma are closely intertwined. For example, a patient’s asthma may be triggered by exposure to an allergen. But did you know that eczema is also linked to both allergies and asthma? If you develop any unusual symptoms, such as changes to your skin, it’s a good idea to tell your allergy and asthma specialist about them.
What Eczema Is
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s an allergic skin disease that often develops in early childhood, but may arise later in life. It’s a chronic problem that tends to flare up in episodes. The signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis include the following:
- Dry skin
- Small, raised bumps
- Thickened, scaly skin
- Moderate to severe itching, especially at night
- Reddish, brownish, or grayish skin patches
The frequent scratching can cause the skin to become raw and sensitive, and it may cause the bumps to crust over. In severe cases, excessive scratching can lead to skin infections.
How Eczema Is Linked to Allergies and Asthma
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), about half of all patients who have moderate to severe atopic dermatitis are also diagnosed with asthma, food allergies, and/or allergic rhinitis (hay fever). While the exact reason for the connection is still under investigation, there are a few theories. Some people with eczema have errors in the Filaggrin gene. This means that the skin lacks a specific protein it needs to maintain a strong barrier against germs and irritants. As a result, the skin is more sensitive to the irritants that can trigger eczema. In addition, that same defect may allow for greater exposure to allergens, which is thought to make people more sensitive to those substances.
At Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM, patients with allergies, asthma, and related conditions will find a complete spectrum of compassionate care delivered by board-certified allergy doctors. New and current patients can schedule a visit with an asthma doctor by calling 1(800)86-COUGH. Our offices are conveniently located in Blue Bell, Center City, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Jenkintown, Pottstown, King of Prussia, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania.