Atopic march is a progression of allergic reactions that usually begins in infancy. If your child has been newly diagnosed with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and had severe atopic dermatitis (also called infantile eczema) when they were a baby, it's important that you understand what the atopic march is and the comorbid allergic diseases that it can affect.

Risks of Other Allergic Reactions 

Here are the various types of allergic reactions your child may be at risk of developing, in addition to their allergic rhinitis:

  1. Asthma: According to research, of children who had atopic dermatitis, 43% developed asthma. 
  2. Food allergies: Approximately one-third of children with atopic dermatitis developed food allergies as they grew. 
  3. Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Recently, researchers have discovered that children who have three allergic comorbidities are nine times more likely to develop eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

While you are likely familiar with asthma and food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis is something that you are likely unfamiliar with. Eosinophilic esophagitis is an allergic condition that causes painful inflammation in the esophagus. It is now considered as the newest member of the progression of the atopic march. It has sometimes been misdiagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Testing for Allergies 

Since your child is at risk of developing comorbid allergic conditions, it's important that you take your child for allergy testing and evaluation at a pediatric allergy center. Testing typically involves skin prick tests and/or blood tests, depending on the results of the clinical examination and medical history. For the test results to be properly read, it's important that you follow the restrictions of certain medications you give to your child prior to testing. The allergist will give you a list of medications to avoid giving them, antihistamines in particular.

Recognizing & Treating Allergic Reactions

Treating your child's allergies will depend, of course, on the allergens that offend them as well as the severity of their allergies. Typically, prescriptions are considered either rescue or prevention medications. Staying on top of the prevention medications is crucial in reducing the risks of severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks. In some cases, allergen immunotherapy may be beneficial.

Since atopic march is progressive in nature, it's important that you are able to recognize allergic reactions in your child, particularly when it comes to food allergies as they can be life-threatening and develop quickly, even after eating an offending food for several years. Ask your child's allergist to provide you with information regarding the various symptoms to watch for as your child grows.

For more information, contact a pediatric allergy center like Allergy Asthma Immunology Center.