Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a common problem in infants and children. It usually begins between two and six months of age with very dry and sensitive skin that will then become red and extremely itchy. It often starts on the forehead, cheeks and scalp and spreads to the trunk, creases of the elbows, knees, and wrists. With scratching the rash may become raw, crusted and weepy.
It is not yet known what causes it, but it does seem to run in families that have a history of asthma, allergies or atopic dermatitis. It is a chronic disease, but only about a third of children with infantile atopic dermatitis will continue to have problems with it as they get older. There is no cure for this common condition. The main treatments are aimed at controlling and preventing inflammation and itching and include avoiding triggers, frequent bathing and hydrating of the skin, liberal use of moisturizers and lubricants, and the use of steroid creams for flare ups.
A growing voice of opinion in relation to managent of this condition & related conditions, is the monitoring of dietary factors. Although thus far there is insufficient documented evidence of statistical proof, it appears that certain food types may have an effect on the severity of the itching & the degree of spread. Some early indicators would suggest that sugar products may have a negative reaction to eczema.
New Warning: A boxed warning from the FDA has been added to both Protopic and Elidel, warning about a possible risk of cancer, even though the reports have been rare and the link is not proven. To be safe, neither should be used in children under age 2 and they should only be used as second line treatments, when other medications have already been tried. And neither should be used for long periods of time. They can still be used though. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology disagrees that the warning is even necessary or that these medicines are at all dangerous when properly used.
Further information concerning this condition can be found on the following links