“I have Eczema.” I could hear my daughter say as she tried to explain the little patch on the side of her arm. It started when she was a baby, a small dry patch on her face, but as she got older, it dawned on me that it wasn’t going away, and it never went away.
Med-IQ compensated me through an educational grant from Sanofi Genzyme, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. & Abbvie, Inc., to write about the realities of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
I try not to think about it much, but I can imagine her answering that question for the hundredth time. “It’s not contagious,” she said in an attempt to reassure her friends. Thankfully as she got older, her mild eczema moved from her face to her elbow, making it easier for her to hide when it flares up. Helping my teen daughter deal with her eczema hasn’t always been easy; she has good days and bad days, but as she’s gotten older, she has become more aware and taken on more responsibility for managing and taking care of her flare-ups. While I understand that having a chronic disease does not go away, but it can be better. Our goal is to have fewer flare-ups and fewer days where she’s itchy, which is why I’m excited to partner with Med-IQ, an education company that helps people with atopic dermatitis. They do this by providing educational programs for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.
Everything You Need to Know About Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis (AD)
What is Eczema?
Many of us have heard the term “eczema” thrown around by our friends or family, but not many people know what it is. Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to become dry and itchy. It can be found on any part of the body, including the face, neck, elbow, hands. Sadly, there are 16.5 million adults in the U.S. with eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD). 6.6 million of these people have moderate to severe symptoms. Atopic Dermatitis can be very debilitating for children with moderate-to-severe eczema who suffer from night-time itching and sleep disruption.
Eczema often starts at a young age; symptoms of eczema include itching, dry skin, and redness. For us, we found out my daughter has mild eczema after several visits to the doctor. At first, my mother thought it was a drool rash, then we thought she might be allergic to the detergent on our clothes and perfume, but after consulting with a doctor, she concluded that it was eczema. Thankfully, the doctor reached a diagnosis reasonably quickly because we provided the correct information. I remember her asking us if we had a history of asthma, and yes, my mother has asthma. Thankfully, we’ve been able to manage my daughters’ eczema once we found out what it was. But what separates moderate-to-severe eczema from just plain old eczema? There is a lot of variety in how bad the disease is. Those who have moderate-to-severe AD tend to have it more often and with more flare-ups than those who have regular eczema.
What are ways to manage symptoms and treat atopic dermatitis?
Mild AD can be treated with good general skincare and lifestyle changes. It’s crucial for those who suffer from atopic dermatitis to know about the different types of treatment options available. If the disease is more severe, then topical treatments are used. This includes an excellent skincare routine (bathing, moisturizing after bathing, avoiding specific irritants) and topical anti-inflammatory therapies (steroids and non-steroid prescription alternatives). Topical treatments are used for mild cases of AD. But if it’s more serious, you might need systemic treatment, which includes new biologic agents discovered in the last few years. These drugs have had a significant breakthrough in treatment because they help control AD better than other drugs on the market before them. Your best bet in getting to the bottom of all these would be to talk to your doctor about managing your Child’s AD. If you need it, ask for a referral to a specialist. You’re the best person to advocate for your child, so don’t hesitate to go the extra mile and ask the hard questions.
When to see an eczema specialist?
Honestly, for most adults and children who suffer from eczema, you can probably have your primary doctor take care of most things. But if you’re dealing with a moderate-to-severe AD, it is recommended that you see a specialist as soon as possible because they will be able to determine what the next course of action should be.
I will be hosting an IG live chat with Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield on October 12 at 9:00 pm; please join us to answer some of your questions. Dr. Eichenfield is a pediatric and adolescent dermatologist and professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics, the Vice-Chair of Dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Also, if you want access to (free!) personalized, evidence-based texts to help you ditch the itch? Med-IQ has partnered with Pro-Change to offer up to 6 months of tailored text messages to help you manage your eczema/AD journey—from appointment prep to self-management tips.
Text the word ITCH to 401-214-9651 to start. Available for both patients and caregivers!Learn more at: ditch-the-itch.prochange.com
If you want to learn more about eczema, visit National Eczema Association
Your Opinion Matters
Med-IQ would like to know about your experience with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. It will take less than 10 minutes of your time, and they promise that nothing you say will be shared in a way that can identify you. Your answers can help Med-IQ learn more about how to better support and teach people about atopic dermatitis. You will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 6 $100 VISA gift cards if you take the survey. They will contact you by email if you win, so make sure you enter the correct email address.
Put An End To Atopic Dermatitis. Click Here To Take This Survey For A Chance To Win $100.