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What is the connection between eczema, allergies, and asthma?

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Doctors used to think eczema was a sign of an allergic reaction. Now, most agree that eczema is actually a problem with the outer layer of your skin. Instead of working as a barrier, your skin is "leaky" and lets in germs, irritants, or allergens. Still, eczema is clearly connected to allergic conditions like food allergies, hay fever, and asthma. Here's some evidence:

  • Up to 80% of kids with eczema get hay fever or asthma later in childhood.
  • Thirty-five percent of adults with asthma or nasal allergies had eczema when they were kids.
  • If a mom has allergies, there's almost a 1 in 3 chance her baby will have eczema.
  • One in three kids with moderate to severe eczema also have food allergies.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Skin Allergy Overview."

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: "Eczema in Children."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)," "Food Allergies."

Demehri, S. , May 19, 2009. PLOS Biology

Zheng, T. , February 2011. Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Research

Van Bever, H.  , April 15, 2008. WAO Journal

University of Iowa Children's Hospital: "Common Additional Questions."

UpToDate: "Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema)," "Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics)," "Role of allergy in atopic dermatitis (eczema)."

World Allergy Organization: "Food Allergy."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on February 02, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Skin Allergy Overview."

American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology: "Eczema in Children."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)," "Food Allergies."

Demehri, S. , May 19, 2009. PLOS Biology

Zheng, T. , February 2011. Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Research

Van Bever, H.  , April 15, 2008. WAO Journal

University of Iowa Children's Hospital: "Common Additional Questions."

UpToDate: "Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema)," "Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics)," "Role of allergy in atopic dermatitis (eczema)."

World Allergy Organization: "Food Allergy."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on February 02, 2019

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