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Hautarzt. 2005 Mar;56(3):232-40.

[Prevention of atopic eczema. Evidence based guidelines].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Sozialmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck.


With an estimated prevalence of 12% for preschool children and 3% for adults, atopic eczema is a serious public health problem. This disease severely jeopardizes quality of life and is associated with considerable costs. Since there is still no causal therapy, primary and secondary prevention are especially important. Here the evidence basis for recommendations on prevention of atopic eczema is discussed on the basis of the first evidence-based consensus guideline (S3) on allergy prevention. This recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively for at least 4 months and exposure to passive smoking be avoided even during pregnancy; restriction of the maternal diet during pregnancy has no influence, though during breastfeeding it can lower the incidence of eczema among babies at risk. Thereby this measure should be balanced with potential consequences of malnutrition. There seems to be a positive correlation between keeping small rodents (rabbits, guinea pigs), and possibly cats, and the occurrence of atopic eczema, while keeping dogs has no effect or even a protective effect. Avoidance of an unfavorable indoor climate is probably also helpful in preventing eczema. There is no evidence to support deviating from the current recommendations of the standing committee for vaccination.

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