What is the Atopic Triad and Why Does It Matter for Eczema?

What is the Atopic Triad and Why Does It Matter for Eczema?

Jennie Lyon

If you have an eczema child, there is a chance that eczema is not the only condition they suffer from. There are many people with eczema out there who also suffer from hay fever (seasonal allergies) and asthma. Why is it that those with eczema often have a combination of two, or even all three, of these conditions? It’s because they are all connected in a group of diseases called the Atopic Triad (Also known as the Atopic March, Allergic March, Atopic Triangle, or Allergic Triad).

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), and allergic asthma are all caused by a hypersensitivity to certain stimuli. In the case of eczema, they are triggers that can cause a flare up of patches of red, itchy, painful skin (chemical, food, or non-physical like stress). In the case of hay fever, symptoms are caused because of allergens in the air (usually in the spring). And in the case of allergic asthma, inflammation and tightness in the lungs can be caused by coming into contact with certain kinds of allergens (possibly food). These three conditions can appear in isolation, but more often than not, come in threes. There is also a good chance that, if you or your eczema child suffers from any of the atopic triad, you also might have a variety of food allergies. Below, we’ve included a helpful diagram explaining how the three conditions relate to each other.

The various conditions of the atopic triad tend to be passed on through genetics. If you suffered from any of these conditions, chances are that your children might have them as well. The conditions usually present early in life, often soon after birth. Eczema is usually the first to appear, followed by asthma and hay fever. Studies have shown that approximately 70% of those who suffer from one of the conditions from the Atopic Triad also show one other form of it.

Just as with eczema, the best way to deal with the other two conditions is to track down potential allergens. Thankfully, you can usually do this at the same time as you track down you or your eczema child’s triggers. To track possible food triggers/allergens, start an elimination diet. This involves you keeping a “Food Journal” and cutting out a variety of foods from your diet over a period of two weeks. During that time, pay close attention to the symptoms of the Atopic Triad. If any of the symptoms start to fade, this is a good indication that one of the foods you eliminated was a trigger/allergy.

Another way to cut through the trouble of an elimination diet is to go in for allergy scratch testing. Here, a doctor will make small scratches on you or your child’s back/arms and put a tiny amount of possible allergens onto each wound. If there is a physical reaction (usually redness, itching, or pain), then you know that you have a sensitivity to that substance. For those who suffer from eczema, keep a close eye on those scratches even after the allergy testing is over. If you have a minor eczema flare up centralized around one of those scratches, that allergen could be a possible eczema trigger.

Thankfully, the conditions of the Atopic Triad often fade as a person gets older. This doesn’t mean that the condition will vanish entirely, but it may become far more manageable. Many of the treatments that you use for eczema can also be helpful to minimize the symptoms of hay fever and asthma. Having a powerful air purifier set up in your eczema child’s room can help keep the air clear of allergens and triggers. Using a humidifier can keep the air moist and soothe irritated lungs if they suffer from asthma. And of course, for eczema, you will want to use Wet Wrap Therapy along with our Eczema Rescue Suit. If you or your eczema child only suffer from eczema localized on certain parts of the body, such as the hands or feet, you might want to look into our Eczema Gloves or Eczema Socks.

You always want to catch major illnesses or conditions before they become serious. In this way, eczema can be a helpful warning sign that allergic asthma is on the horizon. If you are concerned that your eczema child might be suffering from shortness of breath or tightness in the chest, please take them to your doctor immediately to get them checked out.

Please remember information on our blog is not meant to be medical advice or designed to replace a physician’s judgement for treatment. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.