About 10 percent of infants and young children are affected by atopic dermatitis, a common type of eczema. It can appear at any time and is a non-contagious, itchy skin disorder that comes and goes rather than appearing permanently.
Research suggests that more than a third of those children may be suffering from food allergies rather than a skin disorder.
Eggs, peanuts, milk, fish, soy products and wheat are the most common food allergens in children, and doctors are now often testing for allergies rather than treating dermatitis directly, as new research shows a definite link between the two in many cases.
Experts are now recommending screening for food allergies when children suffer from hard-to-treat atopic dermatitis.
Children who suffer from atopic dermatitis will react abnormally to irritants and allergens, quickly becoming "itchy" before a rash appears - the rash may be part of the disease or manifest purely because of the itching associated with it, depending on the individual and severity. The most common ithy/rashy regions are the skin on the flexural (inner) surfaces of the joints.
Most children will manifest atopic dermatitis before age five and in most cases, it improves or even disappears by adulthood.