oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Eczema and allergic sensitisation - what is the link? : review article

Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



The association between eczema (atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis) and atopy (allergic sensitisation) has been debated for years. There is considerable variation between populations with stronger associations seen in industrialised vs low-income countries and hospital vs community settings. Up to two-thirds of children with eczema are not sensitised. The likelihood of allergic sensitisation increases with early-onset disease and disease severity. Sensitised children with eczema are more likely to develop asthma and hay fever. The current hypothesis is that allergic sensitisation to food and aero-allergens occurs across the impaired skin barrier seen in eczema, making this an important target for therapeutic intervention, either through primary eczema prevention, e.g. by using moisturisers in high-risk children from birth, or through proactive control of early-onset disease. Intervention studies are now required to test this hypothesis further.

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