Soft water may not be better for eczema sufferers

An observer-blind randomised trial carried out on 336 children who suffer from eczema and live in hard water areas has found that installing ion-exchange water softeners does not improve eczema in children.

Half of the children had the water softeners installed in their homes as well as continuing their usual eczema care, and the other half had their usual eczema care alone. The outcomes were measured by nurses who were blind to the treatment allocation. After 12 weeks, there was no discernable difference in improvement, and the small but statistically significant differences in the water softener group were attributed to response bias, since the parents and children were aware of their treatment.

Source: Public Library of Science Medicine

February 2011

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