Winter is here and so is my eczema. Can I prevent my kids from getting it?
January 9, 2018
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema is a fairly common dry skin condition that is caused by defects in the skin barrier. These defects allow moisture in the skin to escape, cause increased sensitivity to irritants like fragrances, and allow allergens into the skin. These can all lead to inflammation and itching, which causes the typical red, itchy rash of eczema. There have been many advances recently in the treatment of eczema including injections that target the inflammatory mediators that trigger eczema and new non-steroidal creams. These advances are wonderful for patients already suffering from eczema, but the ultimate goal for any parent would be to prevent their child from developing eczema from the start.
What do we know about prevention? We know that children born to allergic parents are more likely to develop eczema. This makes sense because we know genetic factors play a role. We also have learned that patients with exposures to farm animals from an early age, and those with early exposures to cat and dog are less likely to develop eczema. One study also showed that the early introduction of yogurt may decrease the risk of eczema. We think this is related to the microbiome of the gut, and the possible protective effects of probiotics. The results of administering probiotics directly to the infant have been mixed, so it is unclear if this would work as a prevention option. One easy intervention that seems to decrease the risk of eczema is to start applying a thick, oil based emollient to the baby starting from birth. There have been some pilot studies that have shown this intervention decreases the rates of eczema in birth cohorts by 30%.
If you are a patient with eczema looking for new treatment options or would like to discuss potential prevention options, please contact your local Allergy Partners office.
Dr. Kali Gerace
Allergy Partners of Central Kentucky