Objective: To investigate the prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD) in premature compared to term children, to study the frequency of food allergy in children with AD, as well as the possible differences in prevalence of AD in children delivered by caesarean section compared to vaginally delivered children.
Design: The design was a prospective, follow-up study for two years.
Method: We included 609 children, 193 premature and 416 term children. At two years, 512 children participated, 161 premature and 351 term children. Children with symptoms consistent with AD/possible food allergy were examined, the dermatitis evaluated according to SCORAD index. SPT, specific IgE and elimination/challenge, as well as DBPC challenge were performed.
Results: 18.6% of the children (95/512) were diagnosed with AD, 19.9% (32/161) premature and 17.9% (63/351) term children. The prevalence of adverse reactions to food in all the children with AD was found to be 15.8%, (15/95) similar prevalence in preterm and term children. AD was found in 17.5% (30/171) children delivered by caesarean section, and 19.1% (65/341) delivered vaginally.
Conclusions: The prevalence of AD in the first two years of life was 18.6%, with no statistical difference between preterm and term children. Adverse reactions to food was found in 15.8%, the similar prevalence in premature and term children. Mode of delivery did not affect prevalence of AD.