Eczema can be a chronic and severe medical condition which is sometimes trivialised. The fact is that both children and adults with eczema can experience painful and unpleasant symptoms which can have a real impact on their quality of life
Atopic eczema in children can be difficult to manage. Parents have to constantly monitor their child’s eczema to make sure that the skin does not become dry and cracked which can lead to allergens and bacteria entering the body. Up to 80% of all children under one year old with moderate to severe eczema are sensitized to one or more food allergens[i].
Those with mild eczema often outgrow it and are unlikely to have a food allergy. However, to help target the skin barrier to reduce eczema means daily applications of emollients with many families experiencing broken nights caring for their children when they wake up because of pain and discomfort. Some families go as far as to leave their job to look after a child as a childminder may not be able to give the constant treatment that a child with severe eczema needs. This alone can put a financial burden on the family which is not helped by the extra costs of buying creams and sometimes, in desperation, even paying for allergy advice and non-validated testing.
With around 1.7million school children suffering from eczema in the UK, general awareness of the condition is essential as parents all over the UK are struggling to identify and manage their child’s condition. Schools often do not have the resources to help a child with eczema and this can impact on their learning and social life. If you feel there needs to be more support in your child’s school for your child and you do not know how to tackle the issue, please call Allergy UK’s dedicated Helpline. It is available 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and run by advisers who are trained in all aspects of allergy. The Helpline can also signpost you to your nearest allergy specialist. Call 01322 619898 or email email@example.com.
There is also increasing risk of poor growth for children with severe eczema often due to the overuse, over a long period of time, of steroid creams. It is now recommended that short target steroid treatments are used. Also, constant itching and scratching during the night can mean a lack of regular sleep which will impact on alertness the following day.
HOW ALLERGY UK CAN HELP
Allergy UK, the leading national patient charity which supports the 21 million people living with allergy in the UK raised awareness of allergic eczema during this year’s Allergy Awareness Week (24th – 30th April 2017).
Allergy UK offers over free 100 Factsheets containing information on how to manage most types of allergy. They are all on the Allergy UK website, www.allergyuk.org. The dedicated Helpline is also free and available on 01322 619898 for advice and support.
[i] S. Nutten. ‘Atopic Dermatitis: Global Epidemiology and Risk Factors’. Annuals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2015; 66 (suppl 1):8–16