What is the clinical history of pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Jun 03, 2020
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Most children with atopic dermatitis relate a history notable for intense pruritus and dry skin. The quality of the pruritus is referred to as a spreading itch. Affected children often have a lowered itch threshold, resulting in increased levels of cutaneous reactivity in response to stimuli. Patients may succumb to a vicious itch-scratch-itch cycle, in which pruritus stimulates a bout of scratching. This, in turn, increases skin inflammation and triggers a greater sensation of itching, thus exacerbating flares.

Altered cell-mediated immunity has been noted in patients with atopic dermatitis; these patients exhibit both impaired skin barrier function and defects in skin innate immunity. [18] This is clinically observed as a history of repeated unusual cutaneous infections (eg, eczema herpeticum, warts, molluscum, dermatophytes). [19, 20]


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