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November 26, 1982

Common 'Allergic' Skin Diseases

JAMA. 1982;248(20):2611-2622. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330200035011

ALLERGIC SKIN diseases are relatively common and, at times, devastating clinical problems that have great socioeconomic impact. In this section, focus is given to providing a basis for understanding the role of immune mechanisms in the cause of certain diseases of the skin and the application of this information to their diagnosis and treatment.


Definition  Atopic dermatitis is a common dermatitis characterized by severe pruritus, frequent onset in infancy, a strong familial propensity, and a tendency to chronicity. It is referred to as atopic dermatitis because of its occurrence in individuals who manifest IgE-mediated skin test reactions and who frequently later acquire allergic rhinitis, asthma, or both. Typically, atopic dermatitis begins in early infancy, rarely before age 2 months, but in the majority of instances before age 6 months. The expression of the disease in early life, when it occurs as an erythematous, papulovesicular, exudative, intensely pruritic inflammation,