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Beating the itch Part 2 (Teacher: Michael)

Even in adult life, between two and 10 per cent of population will, at some, time, experience about of eczema, although it is usually less severe.

Yet despite prevalence of condition there is enormous amount of ignorance surrounding it.

Eczema is general name given to number of conditions which make skin inflamed and uncomfortable and can be triggered by enormous number of things, including food, chemicals, allergies, stress and environment - but it is not infectious.

Case Study
Gwynneth and her husband Simon have daughter Molly, aged 21 months, who has suffered from eczema since she was five weeks old. "Even before she could scratch, Molly would lie in her cot and rub her face on sheets," says Gwynneth.

Gwynneth and Simon, with help of supportive GP and their families, did everything they could to make Molly more comfortable. They bought 100 per cent cotton clothing (even thread used to sew garment must be cotton), experimented with different kinds of nappies, creams and ointments, and tried to keep Molly away from potential allergens.

Molly is particularly happy and tolerant child, who now applies her own creams, and her ebullience helped Gwynneth and Simon through worst times. But they know how far-reaching effects of eczema can be. Few people appreciate financial cost of finding clothes, shoes and bedding that won't make condition worse.
Some families take up all carpets and replace furniture to remove threat of dust-mite allergies. Sometimes pets have to go.

Gwynneth says: "I used to get very angry about eczema because there is no definite cure, it's all question of trial and effort."

The National Eczema Society in Britain has range of fact sheets, booklets, guides and reports about eczema, including guidelines for employers.

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