LAHORE - Incidence of Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema, has increased by 2 to 3 times during last few decades in industrialized countries, said leading dermatologists.

“Lack of awareness about the disease is major hurdle in timely treatment that is only worsening the situation”, they said.

Referring to last week of November being observed globally as International Awareness Week, they said that it was golden opportunity to raise awareness about inflammatory, relapsing, non contagious and itchy skin disorder.

Head of Dermatology Services Institute of Medical Sciences/Services Hospital, Dr Shahbaz Aman said, “Eczema affects 15-20% of children and 1-3% adults worldwide. The most common symptoms of Eczema are Itching, redness, scaling, oozing and crusting.” He added that several environmental factors can trigger symptoms such as food allergens (most frequently cow’s milk, eggs, fish and peanuts); pets, house dust mites and pollen.

Talking about general management of eczema, he said “Patients should identify and avoid aggravating factors. The outbreaks and the severity can be lessened by avoiding excessive bathing and all types of contact with irritants including common soap, detergent, shampoo and cleansing agents. Patients must use specific products recommended by their doctor”.

Moreover, proper use of moisturizers can improve the skin barrier function of eczema patient. Similarly, seeking timely guidance from healthcare provider is essential. Besides this, using appropriate protective measures including gloves, barrier creams are also helpful in controlling eczema.

“Eczema is a skin disease that impacts the quality of life of patients more than many other diseases. There is an increased risk of depression, anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorder in children and adults suffering from atopic dermatitis,” he added.

“Unfortunately, we have no focus on patient education and proper counseling in the country at any platform. This week gives us an opportunity to increase awareness and stand by the people affected with this disease,” he concluded.