Atopic dermatitis is often referred to as “eczema,” which is a general term for several types of inflammation of the skin and is the most common of the many types of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects the skin. It is not contagious; it cannot be passed from one person to another. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking, “weeping” clear fluid, and finally, crusting and scaling. In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse (called exacerbations or flares) followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely (called remissions). As some children with atopic dermatitis grow older, their skin disease improves or disappears altogether, although their skin often remains dry and easily irritated. In others, atopic dermatitis continues to be a significant problem in adulthood.
Birch pollen is an outdoor allergen typically associated with hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Certain fresh foods such as fruit, vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts and seeds may contain birch pollen and people suffering from pollen allergies could have an allergic reaction to these foods The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends either cooking or avoiding these foods during allergy season to prevent triggering an allergic reaction.
The aim of a study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology was to evaluate the safely and effectiveness of specific immunotherapy (SIT) with birch pollen extract in patients with atopic dermatitis. The researchers enrolled 55 adult patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis who were sensitive to birch pollen and received SIT for 12 weeks. Total SCORAD (clinical tool used to assess severity of atopic dermatitis) value was reduced by 34 percent during the treatment course and the Dermatology Life Quality Index improved by 49 percent despite strong exposure to birch pollen. Twenty-seven patients developed reactions but were of mild intensity in most cases. None of the patients discontinued the study prematurely due to adverse drug reactions. These results indicate SIT with birch pollen extract significantly improved the SCORAD value and the DLQI in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis who were sensitive to birch pollen.1
1 Novak N, Thaci D, Hoffmann M, et al. Subcutaneous Immunotherapy with a Depigmented Polymerized Birch Pollen Extract – A New Therapeutic Option for Patients with Atopic Dermatitis. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. Feb2011.