Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and affects between 10 to 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults.
Symptoms can include patches of skin that are red, dry, and cracked and are very itchy, especially at night. In infants, eczema usually appears as tiny bumps on the cheeks. Older children and adults often experience rashes on the knees or elbows (often in the folds of the joints), on the backs of the hands and neck, or on the scalp.
Scratching and rubbing can make the itching and rash worse and even cause the skin to blister and ooze a clear or light yellow fluid if the skin becomes infected.
Atopic dermatitis is thought to be due to a defect in the skin barrier, which then causes the skin to dry out and become irritated and inflamed by many environmental factors. Some people with eczema have a food sensitivity which can make eczema symptoms worse.
Eczema is often linked with other allergic (atopic) diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, or food allergy. This order of progression is called the atopic march. You are also more likely to develop eczema if a parent has any of the atopic conditions listed above.
Your allergist can help in the evaluation and treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema).