eczema-and-asthma

You might be wondering if there is a link between your child’s asthma and eczema (a skin condition). The answer is “Yes”, there is a link between eczema and asthma in kids. The BBC News reported that studies have shown “50-70% of children with severe allergic skin problems go on to develop asthma”. 

Understanding Eczema

Eczema which is also known as (atopic dermatitis) is a common skin condition that causes inflammation in children. So why do children with eczema go on to develop asthma later? One of the theories hypothesised by the researchers of the study between eczema and asthma is that the child’s skin (the protective barrier against the environment) has defects. This leads to triggering the child’s immune system to produce an inflammatory reaction as a protective stance against the allergens found on the child’s skin.

This reaction from the body also includes the surface of the airways to the lungs. 

Thus, most researchers feel that eczema is not purely allergic but rather, the skin condition is triggered by external conditions such as food, hay fever and asthma. 

Statistics have shown that:

  • About 80% of children with eczema develop hay fever/asthma 
  • 35% of adults with asthma or nasal allergies had eczema when they were kids 
  • 37% of kids with moderate-severe eczema have food allergies. 

The Risk of Getting Asthma 

“If my child has eczema, does it mean they are guaranteed to develop asthma?” False. If your child has eczema, that doesn’t mean they will develop asthma, instead, studies have shown that they will have a higher probability of getting it. 

How can I Lower the Risk?

There are things you can do that might lower your child’s risk of developing asthma or worsening their current condition or allergies. 

  • Consult your doctor 

Talk to your child’s doctor and ask for ways to manage your child’s current skin condition and lower the risk of developing asthma. 

  • Diet Changes 

If your child has high-risk allergies, your doctor might suggest a change in diet. Important key point is to treat and control your child’s eczema. 

  • Allergy Testing 

Your doctor might suggest going for an allergy test so that you can figure out what is the main cause and how to avoid it. 

  • Use moisturize 

Use a thick moisturizer suitable for sensitive skin to prevent your child’s skin from drying out. 

  • Keep fingernails short 

Make sure your child’s fingernails are trimmed and maintained regularly to prevent scratching that can worsen the skin condition. 

  • Use products for sensitive skin 

Avoid scented soap and laundry detergent. Ensure that your child stays away from any cigarette smoke too. 

  • Monitor your child’s condition 

Keep track of your child’s eczema condition. If it gets worse or your child starts having congestion or running nose (allergic reaction), go see a doctor. It will be better to treat your child’s condition earlier so that it doesn’t worsen.

Reference List:

  1. Bazian. “How Eczema Might Lead to Asthma.” NHS , NHS, 26 May 2009, https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/how-eczema-might-lead-to-asthma/
  2. Schneider, Lynda. “The Connection Between Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies.” National Eczema Association, 9 Feb. 2018, nationaleczema.org/atopic-dermatitis-and-allergies-connection/.
  3. Washington University School of Medicine. “Why Eczema Often Leads To Asthma.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2009. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518213939.htm.
  4. Demehri, Shadmehr, et al. “Skin-derived TSLP triggers progression from epidermal-barrier defects to asthma.” PLoS biology 7.5 (2009).
  5. “Eczema’s Link to Asthma Uncovered.” BBC News, BBC, 24 May 2009, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8055038.stm.
  6. Brennan, Dan. “Is Eczema in Kids Linked to Allergies and Asthma?” WebMD, WebMD, 2 Feb. 2019, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/allergies#2.