The itch, the scratch, wet bandages covering the skin, cotton mittens, low self-esteem, exasperated parents, creams and lotions, hopelessness, sleepless nights, spells in hospital and traipsing in vain from one doctor to another. This is the world of the child with atopic eczema.
The incidence of atopic diseases such as dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma is rising in industrialized countries and now affects about 14% of the population of four year old children. Some studies put this incidence even higher, at perhaps 20%. Of these children with allergies, about 50% grow out of their atopy. The incidence of atopic disease is higher among children whose father has atopic related disease than if the mother has atopic related disease.