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October is Eczema Awareness Month

October marks Eczema Awareness Month, a time to increase education and support surrounding this painful skin disease that currently affects 30 million Americans.

The word eczema come from the Greek word ekzein which means “to boil over.” Its cause is unknown, though it is most likely due to genetic and environmental factors. Some experts believe that it is predicated by growing up in an unusually clean environment, where the patient was not exposed to bacteria or other immune system modulators. On the other hand, some researchers believe that it may be an allergic reaction to the excrement of house dust mites. There is also a strong correlation between eczema and celiac disease. As of yet, there is no cure for eczema.

As PAs we often see patients who are suffering from eczema and need more support. it is important to connect patients suffering from eczema with research on their condition and support in managing it. Many of your eczema patients may feel alone and isolated in their disease. One resource for your patients is the National Eczema Association (NEA).  The NEA focuses on education, support, and advocacy. They have pioneered The Life Improvement for Eczema program which offers tools and materials for people suffering from eczema.

NEA also offers a quarterly newsletter, a School Pack for parents and educators, an annual Eczema Patient Conference, and an annual Children’s Conference Camp. They focus on improving patient’s self-esteem, self-image, helping children have better experiences in school, and informing loved ones on how to best support those dealing with the disease. 

Understanding the burden of this condition enables us to come alongside our patients to help them better manage their symptoms and work towards finding a more permanent cure.

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Image: Paree

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