Infantile Eczema: How It Can Lead to Asthma and Food Allergies

Infantile eczema is a very common skin rash and has been found to be linked to asthma as children grow older. This is known as the atopic march in the medical field. Fortunately, parents may be able to slow or halt the progression of the atopic march. Here's what you need to know.

Skin damaged by infantile eczema produces TSLP

Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a substance that researchers have found is produced and released in the body when the infantile eczema of the inflicted child causes damage to their skin. The release of TSLP causes a immune-system response that is believed to cause allergic reactions, such as asthma and food allergies, later in life. In fact, research shows that as many as 70% of children who have had infantile eczema go on to develop asthma.

Protect baby's delicate skin from damage

The types of skin damage that cause TSLP to be produced and released includes abrasions from the child rubbing or scratching their skin. Therefore, it is extremely important for parents of little ones with infantile eczema to protect the skin from being damaged. Here are a few ways this can be done.

  • Use mild soaps and detergents that won't irritate the skin and cause it to become more itchy.
  • Keep baby's nails trimmed short and filed smooth.
  • Place infant mittens on baby's hands when they have a red, itchy rash.
  • Bathe baby in lukewarm water, as this helps prevent the skin from becoming too dry.
  • Apply alcohol-free moisturizer to baby's skin after every bath.
  • Run a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home.
  • Ask the pediatrician for a prescription-strength steroid cream for severe flare-ups.

Learn the symptoms of asthma, food allergies, and other allergic reactions

Since babies with infantile eczema are at high risk of developing asthma, it is crucial for parents to understand how to recognize symptoms. This is particularly true if children develop the allergic reactions sooner rather than later, simply for the fact that they may not be able to communicate how they are feeling and what is wrong.

Asthmatic children tend to cough, which may be the only symptom in some children. They may breathe rapidly or clutch at their chests when they are having trouble breathing. They may not be as energetic as they normally would, due to their being unable to keep a steady supply of oxygen in their lungs.

A pediatrician can diagnose asthma, but you can expect a referral to an allergy provider such as North Texas Allergy for testing to determine what triggers the asthma, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander.