National Eczema week 19-25th September

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    National Eczema Awareness Week Launched

    More Awareness Needed as up to 20% of Children in Ireland Suffer from Atopic Eczema

    Almost 1 in 5 or 20% of children under the age of 7 in Ireland and 1 in 12 adults suffer from Eczema.

    The condition is now 30% more frequent than it was in the 1980s and it begins in the first year of life for most sufferers. To raise awareness of the condition the Irish Eczema Society has launched Eczema Awareness Week which runs from 19th to 25th September.

    “Eczema is a very distressing condition for children and their families. It causes considerable emotional distress as well as discomfort. It is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed and we need to raise awareness in Ireland about the treatment and effects of eczema”, said Jeannette Brazel, Chairperson of the Irish Eczema Society.

    “Although there is no outright cure, in 65% of children, the eczema is gone by the time they are 7 years old and with proper diagnosis and treatment, eczema can be well controlled. We want to encourage everyone and especially parents and teachers to take time to educate themselves about eczema and understand the emotional distress it causes to sufferers”.

    Jeannette Brazel continued. “It is vital that children receive treatment early to control Eczema and we want to encourage parents of children with rashes and irritated skin conditions to seek help from their GP, Practice Nurse or Pharmacist. Removing irritants and moisturising your child’s skin adequately is the basic cornerstone of treatment. We want to encourage as many people as possible to log onto and and contact the Irish Eczema Society for further information.”

    The Irish Eczema Society are holding an Open Day at The Brookfield Health Sciences Building UCC in Cork on Saturday 25th September. There will be a talk from consultant dermatologist Dr.Michelle Murphy, a dermatology nurse will be present to show how to apply creams correctly and there will be stands and samples of eczema specific products.

    Useful Tips for looking after Eczema
    • Adopt a good daily care regime to try to get the eczema under control
    • Use cotton clothing where possible
    • Use soap free products for bathing, check with your pharmacist for advice
    • Use specially formulated shampoos
    • Talk to your child’s teacher about his or her eczema and make sure the teacher is informed about the condition and how to help a child with eczema in the classroom
    • Keep skin cool and allow it to breathe
    • Use a non-bio washing powder and do not use fabric conditioner.
    • Do not use chemical sprays and plug-ins around the home
    • Cut down on harsh cleaning products
    • Shower immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool and apply a moisturiser.
    • Use heavy protective gloves when working with paint or chemicals and wear a mask.
    • Sore skin and sand do not mix. Be careful of children on holidays.
    • Avoid having anybody smoke in the home, avoid houses where there are smokers
    • Don’t cut out foods such as milk unless a food allergy has been diagnosed by your doctor. Food is a main trigger in just 10% of cases and good balanced diet is essential for overall health, especially in a child with Eczema

    Things to Avoid
    • Wool or synthetic fibres
    • Soaps and detergents
    • Some perfumes and cosmetics (most contain cocktails of chemicals)
    • Substances such as chlorine, mineral oil, or solvents
    • Dust or sand
    • Cigarette smoke
    • Preservatives, colorants and other additives in processed foods

    The term ‘atopic’ refers to a personal and family tendency to develop eczema, asthma and/or hay fever. While these conditions tend to be hereditary they are not always passed directly from parent to child and may skip a generation. Although we still do not know exactly why atopic eczema develops in some people, research has shown that a combination of genetic and environmental factors play a part.

    Low self-confidence and esteem, bullying, discrimination and underperformance and school and work are some of the recognised emotional impacts of Eczema. The International Study of Life with Atopic Eczema carried out in the UK, US, several continental European countries and Mexico found that worldwide more than a quarter of sufferers have been bullied or discriminated against at work because of their skin condition. Over 2000 adults with moderate Eczema took part in the study. Over 75% of those interviewed said that being able to control their eczema would be the single most important improvement to their quality of life. Many reported that Eczema prevented them from making friends, especially in their teenage years and 43% felt awkward about their partner touching or seeing their body during a flare up. Over half reported frequent bouts of depression and low self-confidence. On average they reported underperforming at work or college for 10% of the time during a flare up. The majority of participants expressed concerned about the general treatment for eczema and identified the need for effective treatment that would give long term control of their condition.

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