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Impact on family and social life

Although it is not a serious disease, atopic dermatitis strongly impacts on everyday life.
Parents are anxious and children are tired: atopic dermatitis can upset the family routine due to its constraints, the attention and care it requires and the incessant scratching that exacerbates symptoms and leads to increasingly difficult nights.
Not only is it a heavy daily concern for parents, but siblings may also feel neglected or even hurt when the family stops participating in activities that could interfere with an atopic child's health, such as outdoor sports (sweating and exposure to pollens inflame patches of eczema) and trips to the pool or to the beach (burning sensation caused by chlorine and salt).

The family balance depends on the child's self-reliance
Through dermatological treatment and support, we can better understand the disease. We can also learn to limit its impact by not focusing all the attention on affected children at the expense of their brothers and sisters, for example, and by encouraging them to apply the ointment on their own... This should be done in an atmosphere of calm and confidence.

From the age of 4 or 5, children can learn to self-examine their skin and understand eczema, knowing that it will get better following the proper treatment. Through self-reliance, children can find the key to improving their daily lives and avoid feeling marginalized within their family and social lives.

When atopic dermatitis persists into adulthood, it can become a social handicap.
Given that it has a varying impact on physical appearance, it can also disturb the dynamic of a relationship or create discomfort in the atopic patient's professional environment. A simple handshake, for example, can make others feel uncomfortable or even lead to rejection.

Bringing an end to isolation

Meeting at the Thermal Center

Dermatologists are there to help families
The main challenge of the first consultation with the dermatologist lies in describing the symptoms in order to diagnose the atopy and decide on a suitable treatment, but that is not all. Eczema is a disease that often isolates patients and worries families. Do not hesitate to describe the way you live with the disease every day the intensity of the itching, pain, sleep disorders, drop in self-esteem, anxiety, difficulty in treating the affected areas, school, family life, etc.
When children are old enough to express themselves, they may also discuss their feelings, in addition to the symptoms affecting their skin.

The support of family networks
Each case is unique and dermatologists are the partner of choice for a customized treatment of the disease.
Once the diagnosis has bee made and if the eczema affects family life, the support of other parents can help those affected to feel less lonely. Sharing your experience with those who are having or have had the same experience is a great source of comfort. It can help parents to stop feeling guilty and adopt new habits that have worked for others (cold creams, drying clothes indoors during periods of pollination, applying cream to itchy areas several times a day, hydrotherapeutic treatment, etc.). Parents can also discuss the disease with close friends and on social networks.

An ideal forum: the atopy workshop
With whom can you share the burden of sleepless nights? Silent fights? Stress and exhaustion? Hopes and failures? Organized in groups and led by a nurse, the workshop is a forum for discussion among patients.
They can ask their questions and express their suffering: tightness, scratching and discomfort over their appearance are the main complaints of patients with atopic dermatitis.

Atopy workshops are held in hospitals for adults and children with atopic dermatitis as a form of therapeutic education. They are supervised by health professionals - nurses, pediatric nurses, doctors and psychologists - who help patients not to overreact, to better understand and to better manage the disease on a daily basis.

This makes patients aware of their own resources to improve their daily lives and boost their confidence in the treatment and care of their condition, which is not always treated properly. Patients are able to express their discomfort regarding the reaction of other people, learn the right reflexes to relieve pain and itching, and understand the disease and its treatment.
By taming the disease, the patient learns to live better with it.

Atopy workshops provide a meeting place where everyone can find patients like them. They can share their experiences and pain, benefit from support and talk with medical professionals. It is a place where people learn to break out of their isolation and overcome the feeling of exclusion.

"Atopy is not inevitable. We must talk about it to the people around us and to our doctors, telling the latter of our fear of cortisone or warning them if the prescribed treatment does not work"
Professor Jean François Stalder, head of Dermatology at the University Hospital of Nantes

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