Feature Article

Eczema in infants. The role of dietary manipulation

Feature Article

Eczema in infants. The role of dietary manipulation

GERARD J. CHU, MIRIAM CODARINI, JUDITH PRYKE, CONSTANCE H. KATELARIS

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© RADIST/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© RADIST/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

The internet and the health and wellbeing industry have multiple suggestions for dietary modification to prevent or treat eczema. Our evidence-based advice can help clinicians and parents discern between benefit and detriment of various dietary measures for the prevention and treatment of eczema in infants and children.

Key Points

  • Early life environment influences the risk of developing allergy.
  • Uncertainties from randomised controlled trials should temper our advice on the role of probiotics, omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D.
  • There is no role for specific serum IgE tests (previously called radioallergosorbant or RAST tests) or skin prick tests in most infants with eczema alone.
  • Delayed introduction of foods and dietary exclusion may have a restricted role in treating some infants with eczema.
  • Unnecessary dietary exclusion increases the risk of developing food allergy.
  • Specialist referral is recommended if dietary modification is being considered in infants.