House Call: Childhood Eczema – Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

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Childhood eczema is often associated with allergies and/or asthma, in which case it is known as atopic dermatitis. 

Atopic dermatitis is chronic, itchy skin which most often begins in childhood, and occurs in 0.5-1 percent of the population. 

Fact Sheet: Childhood Eczema

The condition usually presents as patches of red, dry skin that can occur anywhere, but most commonly appears in the bends of the elbows or knees, the neck, and for infants, on the cheeks. 

Atopic dermatitis is often triggered by a variety of internal and external factors including dry skin in winter, sweating in summer, irritating clothing, infections, scratching, emotional stress, soaps, chemicals and solvents, and possible allergic reactions to food and inhalants. 

To help prevent flare-ups of the condition, individuals should control or avoid any known triggers. 

In persistent, or mild to severe cases of atopic dermatitis, the itching may have to be controlled by prescription antihistamine medications. 

Topical steroid creams or ointments, which come in a variety of strengths, may also be prescribed to control flare-ups and use as maintenance therapy.  If you notice signs of atopic dermatitis and/or other allergies in your child, it is important to discuss these symptoms and proper methods of prevention and treatment with their doctor.  

Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of pediatricians, primary care physicians, allergy and immunology specialists, and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating and treating children and families in the community with allergies and other associated conditions.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Roselyn Hicks is a board-certified allergy and immunology specialist at Allergy and Asthma Center of North Carolina and a member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Hicks is a 1997 graduate of East Carolina University School of Medicine.  She completed her residency in Pediatrics and her fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at University of South Florida.