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Eczema affects more than the skin.


Many people believe that Atopic Dermatitis (also known as allergic eczema) is a problem limited to the skin.  However, digging deeper will reveal that eczema is very much a problem that affects much more than the skin.

Eczema is associated with other allergic disorders (that is why allergists are your best specialist to assess and treat eczema)

Children with eczema have a higher prevalence of:

  • Asthma: 25% compared to children without eczema (12.3%)
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever): 34% compared to children without eczema (14.3%)
  • Food allergies: 15% compared to children without eczema (3.6%)

Key: The more severe the atopic dermatitis rash, the more likely and severe will be the allergies, asthma or food allergies!

About 10% of adults in the U.S. have eczema.  Adults with eczema also have a higher prevalence of:

  • Asthma: 14.8% compared to adults without eczema 7.5%
  • Allergic rhinitis: 15.7% compared to adults without eczema 6.9%

Skin infections are more common in children with eczema: (likely due to broken skin barrier)

  • Staphylococcus aureus (“Staph”)
  • Group A streptococci (same bacteria that causes “strep throat”)
  • Herpes Simplex Virus
  • Vaccinia virus (Kaposi varicelliform eruption)
  • Coxsackievirus (eczema coxsackium)
  • Molluscum
  • Fungal infections

More susceptible to OTHER infections not just the skin including:

  • Influenza (the flu)
  • Pneumonia
  • Recurrent ear and sinus infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)–I’m still trying to understand this connection.

These may be due to poor immune system dysfunction in the “toll like receptors.”

Psychological, Behavioral and Neurological

Individuals with eczema are more likely to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and autism.  The reason for this is not clear but may be related to pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemical messages between cells) and sleep disruption.  With these psychological disorders, there is also an increased risk of injuries.

Childhood Epilepsy:  Its’ not clear why, but eczema has been associated with seizure disorders.

At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we appreciate the impact that uncontrolled eczema can have on you, your child and your entire family.  For a full assessment of atopic conditions (allergies, asthma, eczema), call us at 406-451-7017.

The above information can be accessed at:

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. 

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