Childhood eczema is linked to increased headaches

Published Online: August 29, 2015

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic itchy condition of the skin that is a significant cause of morbidity. Patients with eczema often have other health problems, including sleep deprivation, allergic disease, depression and other mental disorders. All of these problems might contribute toward headaches.

In a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Jonathan Silverberg studied the rate of headaches in US children using data from 401,002 children and adolescents in the 2003-2004 and 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health and 1997-2013 National Health Interview Survey. Headaches occurred in approximately 1 in 10 children with eczema, which was significantly more common than children without eczema. In particular, severe eczema was associated with even higher rates of headaches (1 in 5 children) than those with mild or moderate eczema. Finally, up to 1 in 3 children with eczema who also had fatigue and sleep disturbance experienced headaches.

This study suggests that headaches are more common in children and adolescents with eczema than previously recognized. Healthcare providers should screen children with eczema, particularly severe disease, for headaches. Perhaps improved treatment of eczema will result in mitigation of headaches.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

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