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Childhood atopic eczema management and diagnosis

Suneeta Kochhar details how nurses can treat children affected by this often painful condition

Most cases of atopic eczema (AE) are managed in the primary care setting and eczema in children may be sub-optimally managed, despite appropriate therapeutic options being initiated. There may be a reluctance to gain symptomatic control in children by using topical corticosteroids and emollients are often under-prescribed. Moreover, the reluctance to use topical corticosteroids is also seen with patients.1



AE may develop in infancy and have a remitting and relapsing course. It is a chronic, itchy, inflammatory skin condition that commonly presents in general practice1, 15-20% of school-aged children may be affected by AE in the UK.2 Genetic and environmental factors are likely to be contributory.3 It is thought that abnormalities in structural proteins such as filaggrin or abnormal lipid metabolism may compromise epithelial barrier function and cause the skin to become more sensitive to irritants and allergens.4

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