More than 30 million Americans, many of them children, suffer from atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema). Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a type of eczema, although there are other forms of eczema that are not classified as AD. The development of AD is due to a combination of factors: a dysfunction of the skin barrier, environmental factors, genetic predisposition, and a dysfunction in the immune system.
AD impacts people differently, with itching being one of the most frustrating symptoms. Other common symptoms include red and inflamed skin, weeping or oozing sores, scaling, crusting and cracking of the skin. The underlying factors that cause atopic dermatitis also put a person at a greater risk of developing other related conditions, including asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. In some cases, the emotional toll of AD and dealing with the social stigma may lead to mood disorders, like anxiety and depression.
How to get involved
In celebration of Eczema Awareness Month, here are some things that you can do to help spread education and raise awareness about atopic eczema.
Write to your local representatives and share your valuable experiences, these can sometimes help representatives when it comes to voting on important topics like healthcare or allocating resources
Contact a local media outlet whether that is print, a website, TV, etc to see if they will do a story about Eczema Awareness Month and ask if you can share your eczema story
Ask to speak at you or your child’s school or classroom about eczema. There are several children’s books that provide accurate information and review the myths and misconceptions about eczema.
Form a support group in your area, the National Eczema Association provides free resources for starting up a group.
Raise funds and donate to an organization that conducts dermatological research or provides assistance to those who suffer from the condition. The National Eczema Association is an example of a non-profit that is dedicated to education, research and eczema awareness.
Itching for a cure walk
The National Eczema Association holds a yearly fundraiser called “Itching for a Cure Walk.” This is a great way to connect with others who are impacted by atopic eczema as well as support an organization that is doing great work. Check out the National Eczema Association’s Itching For a Cure site to get more information on how to get involved.