In honour of Eczema Awareness Week (EAW), which kicks off today, (Monday 14 May) the Eczema Association of Australasia will be hosting free Eczema clinics across the country, where sufferers of all ages can seek professional solutions and management tips.
The cause of the common skin condition remains unknown, but those affected will suffer varying degrees of red, dry, itchy and flaky skin across the body, mainly affecting creases of elbows, wrists, neck and behind the knees.
The free clinics will be open from 9.00am – 12.30pm every day this week, and will be held in open areas at the Skin and Cancer Foundations (in Sydney and Melbourne) and at the Mater Hospital (in Brisbane), allowing for walk-ins by the public.
The clinics will be hosted by a range of eczema experts, including the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc (EAA) and other medical specialists e.g. dermatologists and pharmacists, who will deliver short presentations on eczema, before commencing one-on-one sessions with the public. There, attendees will have a chance to speak with these health professional in a more private format – ideal for younger guests or those suffering symptoms they would feel too embarrassed to talk about in public.
We spoke to Cheryl Talent, president of Eczema Association of Australasia, to find out more.
What do this week’s clinics hope to achieve?
The purpose of these clinics is to counter the long wait time sufferers sometimes experience when seeing a dermatologist to treat their needs.
Is it generally difficult for Eczema sufferers to seek treatment?
Treatment can be very difficult to easily and quickly access at present. There can be difficulties obtaining a referral from a GP to a specialist and then wait times of 3-6 months to actually see the specialist if consulting privately and even longer wait times if consulting through the public health system.
What kind of impact can Eczema have on sufferers’ lifestyles?
The relentless itching and scratching of eczema can lead to sleep disturbance, infections, days off work and school, social isolation and loss of self-esteem. Eczema may also have a major impact on daily life. Those affected by eczema may avoid activities which could bring them into contact with allergens or irritants, or cause discomfort such as swimming, gardening and exercise which results in sweating, which is often painful.
The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc (EAA), which is the only organisation of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, was founded in January 1994, and stands as a valuable source of knowledge and advice on a wide range of issues associated with the management and treatment of Eczema.