In young children, the rash of atopic eczema consists of a red, very itchy, oozing and crusting rash on the cheeks (acute eczema). The rash may spread to the scalp, the chest, the front of the elbows, the wrists and behind the knees. These children are very irritable and unhappy and want to scratch all the time.
In older children the rash is usually chronic and consists of dry, itchy, thickened, scaly patches on the face, neck, front and back of the elbows and wrists, front and back of the knees and ankles (chronic eczema). Bacterial infection often complicates eczema as a result of the scratching.
The rash of acute eczema is very itchy.
Children with atopic eczema have an inherited tendency to produce IgE. This results in an immunological reaction in the skin, which causes inflammation. IgE testing or skin prick tests for common allergens is needed to confirm the clinical diagnosis of atopic eczema.