Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Atopic eczema usually develops during childhood, but can start at any age. It occurs in 8 to 20% of children and is often the first predictor of a later allergy.

Atopy is a hereditary trait in which children are born with dry skin. They are genetically predestined to develop eczema. This often is recurring in families. The real cause is a bad 'cement' in the skin. The skin layers are made up of cells that have been 'fused' together. In atopy, the cement is of poor quality and the skin has a poor barrier. It is dry, chapped and easily becomes spontaneously irritated.

This predisposition is also associated with a tendency to react to pollen, house dust mites, cat hair, etcetera... and, at a young age, to food. People with atopy can also develop hay fever and asthma.

Symptoms

Atopic eczema affects the entire body, especially the cheeks, the scalp and the outside of the arms and legs. Later, you will see it mainly in the folds of the arms and legs and the wrists. Even in adulthood, it can still be extensive, in the folds and on the eyelids.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis

  • extensive anamnesis and clinical research
  • any additional testing with skin tests and blood tests performed by our nursing staff

Treatment

  • discussion of the results and creating a personalised treatment plan
  • eczema (skin cure) information sessions

Skin hour

Skin cure hour is a multidisciplinary project of the Paediatrics and Dermatology departments.

This information session explains the causes, treatment and prevention of atopic eczema. Using examples, we learn to recognise different types of eczema and to apply the right treatment. In addition, tips are given on how to treat eczema (preventatively) in specific circumstances (e.g. while travelling, by the sea, while swimming...).

Children between 2.5 and 8 are invited, accompanied by a parent or grandparent, to learn how to apply ointments in a playful way with the paediatric nurse.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Dermatology
Paediatrics

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Van Autryve Els, Dr Degraeuwe Jelle