Atopic dermatitis is one of the commoner dermatoses of children, adolescents, and young adults. The term is used generally in this country to represent the cutaneous phase of the asthma-hay-fever-eczema diathesis.
The clinical picture on the skin is a familiar one. In a broad sense, it covers most forms of infantile eczema, as well as other lichenified and pruritic eruptions variously designated as "lichen Vidal," "prurigo Besnier," "neurodermite Brocq," "flexural eczema," and "disseminated neurodermatitis."
The atopic constitution is more than skin deep. Atopic persons are unusual in a number of ways. They manifest (1) a high degree of allergic hypersensitivity, with the development of atopic reagins in the blood, (2) an exaggerated reaction to various forms of physical and emotional stress, (3) a favorable symptomatic response to steroidal therapy, (4) an exaggerated reaction to infection with the virus of vaccinia and herpes simplex, and