HealthDay News — Eczema prevalence among children is growing, and due to a shortage of both pediatric dermatologists and allergists, management of the condition has been left to primary-care providers, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

The rate of atopic dermatitis (AD) among children aged less than 18 years has increased from 9% to 17% among black children; from 5% to 10% among Hispanic children; and from 8% to almost 13% among white children from 2000 to 2010, results of a household survey conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate.

“Although consensus guidelines and practice parameters regarding the management of AD in children have been published, considerable variability persists in clinical practice, particularly regarding the roles that bathing, moisturizing, topical medications, and allergies play in management,” wrote Megha M. Tollefson, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues.

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For most patients with eczema, topical treatments and careful skin care are enough to control the condition. Some children can benefit from additional treatments, according to the report. Those treatments include oral antihistamines, which control itchiness and may help children sleep through the night.

“The pediatric primary care provider should be well equipped to treat most children with AD. If patients with suspected AD do not respond to these treatments, referral to a pediatric medical subspecialist, such as a pediatric dermatologist, may be useful,” recommended the researchers.


  1. Tollefson MM et al. Pediatrics. 2014; doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2812