Eczema Expert: Advice for Life meeting

During Eczema Awareness Week (12th-17th September 2016,) we hosted a week-long programme of events to raise awareness about the chronic skin condition, which affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults in Ireland.

The week concluded with a free public event ‘Eczema Expert: Advice for Life’ which took place in the Red Cow Moran Hotel on Saturday 17th September, to give people advice on how to live a comfortable life with eczema.

Guest speakers included Dr Grainne O’Regan, Consultant Paediatric Dermatologist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Ms Annamma Raju, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Tallaght Hospital, and Ms Jeannette Brazel, ISF.

Dr O’Regan’s presentation was entitled ‘What you need to know about Eczema’, and provided a really interesting overview of the important research findings that have occurred during the last ten years, particularly in relation to how the skin barrier function is weakened in eczema.

Dr O’Regan also spoke about emollient therapy being an essential part of daily care and the role of topical corticosteroids (topical steroids). Topical steroids were first introduced in the 1950s, and still remain an extremely valuable and effective treatment for atopic eczema. When used as prescribed, topical steroids help to control symptoms and restore a patient’s quality of life. Yet, fears about the risk of side effects can cause patients to under-treat their condition, which can have a detrimental effect on overall management.

The second speaker, Ms Annamma Raju, elaborated on the use of emollients as the mainstay of eczema management, in a very informative presentation entitled ‘Emollients – their importance and how to use them’

The third speaker, Ms Jeannette Brazil, provided a parent’s perspective, with really useful hints and tips on how to care for a child with eczema.

Each presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session and the meeting concluded after a wet wrap/paste bandage demonstration, which highlighted how to use them to best effect.

Attendees had the opportunity to visit the many exhibitor stands at the event, and also received a copy of our new eczema booklet.  Feedback was very positive and we plan to hold a similar event next year.

Five top takeaways from Eczema Expert for people with eczema

  1. Are you applying sufficient emollient? A minimum of 500g per week is necessary.
  2. Are you applying emollient in the correct way? Applied in a smooth, downward motion, in the direction of the hair growth
  3. Remember to change your tub of emollient every six weeks, as it can become contaminated, or use a pump dispenser.
  4. Are you bathing correctly? Bath for 5-7 minutes with a bath additive. Think ‘teabag’ analogy, in and out.
  5. Are you applying sufficient topical steroid? The skin should be glistening. Keep a diary of how much you are using. Apply as directed by your doctor and don’t stop too soon.  Please see the Irish skin foundation’s new eczema booklet for more top tips.

Eczema Awareness Week 2016 was kindly supported by La Roche Posay