Background: Topical treatments of atopic dermatitis (AD) may be responsible for cutaneous allergies. Percutaneous sensitization to oat used in emollients/moisturizers has already been reported. Our objectives were to measure the prevalence of oat sensitization in AD children, to assess its relevance, and to look at related parameters.
Methods: We recruited prospectively children with AD referred for allergy testing between June 2001 and December 2004. Atopy patch tests (APT) and skin prick tests (SPT) to oat proteins (1%, 3% and 5%) and to the European standard series were performed followed by oral food challenge (OFC) and repeated open application test (ROAT) in the oat-sensitized group.
Results: About 302 children were enrolled. Oat APT and SPT were positive in 14.6% and 19.2% of cases, respectively. Children under 2 years of age were more likely to have positive APT. In oat-sensitized children, OFC and ROAT were positive in 15.6% (five of 32) and 28% (seven of 25) of cases, respectively. Thirty-two percentage of oat cream users had oat-positive atopy patch test (APT) vs 0% in the nonusers group.
Conclusions: Oat sensitization in AD children seen for allergy testing is higher than expected. It may be the result of repeated applications of cosmetics with oats on a predisposed impaired epidermal barrier. We suggest avoiding topical-containing oat proteins in infants with AD.