Eczema prevalence high in kids

By Laura Mize • Published: March 10th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Eczema is a condition that causes red, itchy, flaky, dry skin. And surprisingly, the prevalence of this disorder is pretty high among U.S. children.

A recent report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics discusses the high incidence of the disease and the challenge of finding adequate care for children. The report cites a 2010 journal article showing that as many as 10.7 percent of kids are affected. It also highlights a shortage of pediatric subspecialists, including allergists and dermatologists, which was pinpointed by another 2010 study.

This lack of subspecialists means most kids seek help for eczema from a primary care provider, instead of doctors specifically trained to handle the disease. If such doctors aren’t familiar with eczema, patients may lack effective treatment and advice.

Not even the experts have it all figured out. According to the National Eczema Association, the cause of eczema is unknown and there’s no known cure.

Experts say it’s key to avoid “triggers,” which promote eczema flare-ups. Triggers vary by child, but common ones include household chemicals and body products, stress, hot or cold temperatures, food allergies and more. Some of these will bother one child, but not another.

To learn more about what triggers could bother your child, try keeping a journal of flare-ups and looking for patterns. Are the episodes linked to certain foods, activities or chemicals?

Consult your pediatrician for help, even though he or she may not specialize in eczema. Visit the National Eczema Association website for tips and request a referral to a specialist, even if that means a long wait for an open appointment.

Here’s hoping scientists can unravel the mysteries of eczema and find better methods for prevention and cure. Eczema is just not something kids should have to worry about.