As the most common chronic pediatric skin disease,1 atopic dermatitis (AD) affects an estimated 9.6 million children in the United States.2 With a lifetime prevalence of approximately 10%,2 AD is often mislabeled as a child’s disease. Further, diagnosis typically has been based on age-specific criteria regarding the features, morphology, and distribution of skin lesions.3,4 However, a recent cross-sectional study estimated that 16.5 million adults have AD, with 6.6 million meeting criteria for moderate to severe diease.4 As tape strips become more effective in distinguishing between similar presenting diagnoses,5 the need to improve awareness of AD and other eczematous diseases among patients, as well as physicians, is critical.
With this need in mind, the National Eczema Association (NEA) continues its annual Eczema Awareness Month throughout the month of October. Through its month-long awareness campaign, the NEA wants all stakeholders to #GetEczemaWise to illuminate how these conditions can severely impact a patient regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or skin type.
Eczema Awareness Month is broken into multiple 1-week segments, each of which has a specific focus regarding these diseases. An abbreviated week one (October 1 to October 4) introduces the upcoming weeks along with some of eczema’s most powerful statistics. Week two, themed Eczema 101, classifies how eczema and its seven different types present on different phototypes and highlights important epidemiologic statistics as well as information regarding the atopic march and other comorbidities from October 5 to 11. Next, in week three, Eczema Awareness Month examines symptoms and triggers, including how to identify and track triggers and the role of allergies in disease severity. October 19 to October 25, week four, centers around the burden of disease by stressing eczema’s impact on numerous quality of life factors: school or work, sleep, relationships, self-esteem and self-image, and mental health. Last, to end the month, week four looks at the management, treatment, and access in eczema, along with how patients and physicians can collaborate in a shared decision-making process to create an individualized approach to care.
In a press release, NEA President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Block commented on the bright future of eczema research and treatment. “We are in the midst of an unprecedented era of discovery and promise for the future of eczema, thanks to new medications in the pipeline, scientific research underway, and evolving insights into the lived experience and treatment preferences that can advance innovative and targeted therapies for this burdensome skin disease,” she said.6
Resources for Eczema Awareness Month, including a calendar of events, graphics for social media posts, and patient information sheets, are available at https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-awareness-month/.
1. Siegfried EC, Hebert AA. Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis: mimics, overlaps, and complications. J Clin Med. 2015;4(5):884-917. doi:10.3390/jcm4050884
2. October is Eczema Awareness Month (EAM). National Eczema Association. Accessed October 1, 2020. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-awareness-month/
3. Eichenfield LF, Tom WL, Chamlin SL, et al. Guidleines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(2):338-351. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2013.10.010
4. Fuxench ZCC, Block JK, Boguniewicz M, et al. Atopic Dermatitis in America Study: a cross-sectional study examining the prevalence and disease burden of atopic dermatitis in the US adult population. J Invest Dermatol. 2018;139(3):583-590. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2018.08.028
5. Weiss M. Dr Guttman on the efficacy of tape strips for differentiating psoriasis and AD. The Dermatologist. July 31, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2020. https://www.the-dermatologist.com/article/dr-guttman-efficacy-tape-strips-differentiating-psoriasis-and-ad
6. NEA’S Eczema Awareness Month engages and empowers the eczema community to unhide the realities of this chronic inflammatory skin disease that burdens over 31 million adults and children in the US. News release. National Eczema Association; October 1, 2020. Accessed October 1, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/neas-eczema-awareness-month-engages-and-empowers-the-eczema-community-to-unhide-the-realities-of-this-chronic-inflammatory-skin-disease-that-burdens-over-31-million-adults-and-children-in-the-us-301143593.html
7. Silverberg JI. Health care utilization, patient costs, and access to care in US adults with eczema: a population-based study. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(7):743-752. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.5432
8. Camfferman D, Kennedy JD, Gold M, Martin AJ, Lushington K. Eczema and sleep and its relationship to daytime functioning in children. Sleep Med Rev. 2010;14(6):359-369. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2010.01.004
9. Silverberg JI, Garg NK, Paller AS, Fishbein AB, Zee PC. Sleep disturbances in adults with eczema are associated with impaired overall health: a US population-based study. J Investig Dermatol. 2015;135(1):56-66. doi:10.1038/jid.2014.325
10. Rønnstad AT, Halling-Overgaard AS, Hamann CR, Skov L, Egeberg A, Thyssen JP. Association of atopic dermatitis with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation in children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;79(3):448-456.e30. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.03.017
11. Silverberg NB. A practical overview of pediatric atopic dermatitis, part 3: comorbidities, and measurement of disease burden. Cutis. 2016;97(6):408-412.