Some people simply love to pinch babies' cheeks. In fact, it's actually been given the name: cute aggression. Unfortunately, sometimes babies have cheeks that are affected by a condition called infantile eczema. Pinching their little, red, oozing cheeks would be unthought of and cruel. Infantile eczema is atopic dermatitis that affects infants usually 1-6 months of age.
If you're a parent of a baby who has just been diagnosed with infantile eczema, it is very important that you learn about atopic march, which is also called allergic march and the pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis in infants. Here's what you need to know.
Atopic march is a progression of disorders that are related and quite possibly causal to one another. Research shows that babies with infantile eczema also develop allergic rhinitis and asthma later in life, particularly if they test positive for IgE antibodies as infants.
In fact, approximately 70% of babies with severe atopic dermatitis and IgE sensitization develop asthma later in life as compared to 20-30% without IgE sensitization and 8% of the general population. Therefore, you absolutely want to be sure to ask your pediatrician to test your infant for IgE antibodies.
Atopy is not exactly the same thing as allergy. In atopy, the body's IgE-mediated immune response to an allergen is exaggerated. An allergy is an exaggerated immune response to an antigen regardless of any mechanism (IgE or T-cell, for example). To simplify, all atopic disorders are allergic responses but all allergic disorders are not atopic disorders.
IgE stands for immunoglobulin E, which is a type of antibody. IgE responses to atopic march can challenge your baby through their childhood and into adulthood. IgE antibodies are produced as a reaction to common environmental allergens. IgE activates mast cells, which induce the production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). The production of TSLP is what some believe causes the progression of the atopic march.
As if the potential for the development of allergic rhinitis and asthma later in life isn't enough, you also need to be concerned about staph infections now while your child is an infant and having infantile eczema. According to published research, 90% of patients with chronic atopic dermatitis test positive for staphylococcus aureus. Be sure your pediatrician tests your baby for staph infection.
In conclusion, locate online resources to educate yourself on the pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis, particularly if your baby's test results show positivity for IgE antibodies. For more information, contact a company that provides atopic dermatitis resources.