Although an allergic skin condition called atopic dermatitis is common in infancy, it often disappears around the age of three years, new research shows. Moreover, the condition appears to have no direct connection with asthma.
Dr. Sabina Illi and colleagues, from University Children’s Hospital in Munich, Germany, examined the natural course of atopic dermatitis to identify factors that influence its outcome. They also studied the association between atopic dermatitis and childhood asthma.
The researchers’ findings appear in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
A total of 1,314 children enrolled in an allergy study were followed from birth to 7 years of age. The researchers performed regular physical examinations, tested their blood for evidence of allergies, and interviewed the kids’ parents about allergic symptoms.
About 22 percent of children had atopic dermatitis in the first 2 years of life. Of these children, 43 percent achieved complete remission by 3 years of age, 38 percent had an intermittent pattern of disease, and 19 percent had continued symptoms of the disease.
Atopic dermatitis early in life was not associated with asthma. In contrast, wheezing and certain allergic patterns did seem to be tied to the lung disorder.
SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, May 2004.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Dave R. Roger, M.D.