Eczema on the rise in Australia

As many as one in four children in Australia are developing eczema before the age of two. Dermatologists say Australia has one of the highest incidences of eczema in the world, possibly due to its climate, lifestyle, hygiene and genetics. Fifty years ago it would have been one in ten children suffering from eczema.

Sufferers liken it to leprosy and dermatologists say its impact is much worse on families than other diseases. It is visible on the skin, and people can react in very negative ways. The toll on families includes, among other things, sleeplessness due to itching, and studies show that the effect on families is significantly higher than diabetes. There is also an increasing phobia of any ‘unnatural” creams, such as steroid creams or commercial moisturizers, which leaves the mothers using olive oil on their baby’s skins. However, if the inflammation in the skin is not treated, chemicals are released which further break down the skin, causing a vicious cycle. Topical steroid creams can settle down the inflammation and thus allow the skin to repair itself. Overuse of steroid creams can backfire, or cause localized skin thinning.

Source: Eczema Association of Australia via abc

September 2011


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