Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Itchy, red or dry skin. There may be may leak fluid that crusts over when scratched, which means that it is also infected.
In infants, eczema often appears on the face. Children are prone to have the rash at the bends of the elbow joint, wrists, behind the knees and behind the ears. Adolescents and young adults typically have the rash in the same locations as children, as well as on the hands and feet.
In children where the skin is oozing, crusting and painful, an infection that needs treatment with antibiotics may be the primary trigger.
Infants and young children with more severe eczema should be evaluated for food allergy. It’s important to see an allergist / immunologist for diagnosis and management. It is often needed to receive input from a dietitian as well.
Food allergies causing eczema are much less common in older children and adults. If you are suspected of having eczema that is caused by a food allergy, a confirmed diagnosis requires avoiding the trigger food for about four weeks with the help of a dietitian before doing a food challenge under your doctor’s supervision to confirm that the food was actually causing the flare.
Eczema treatment is often tailored to the individual's specific symptoms and needs. It's essential to work closely with a healthcare provider, typically a dermatologist, to create a personalized treatment plan and to monitor progress. While there is no cure for eczema, proper management can help control symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition.