Campaign raises awareness of eczema

Lucy and her mother, Helen Dimond, enjoy the fun of childhood, like playing on the backyard swing.
Lucy and her mother, Helen Dimond, enjoy the fun of childhood, like playing on the backyard swing. Peter Holt

LUCY Dimond is a typical six-year-old girl who loves to swim and play on her backyard swing.

But what makes her different to other children is her severe case of eczema.

Lucy's mum, Helen, said her daughter experienced eczema all over her body.

"She gets a raised red rash, which is really itchy, and when it gets bad it can weep or get infected," Ms Dimond said.

This week marks Eczema Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.

Ms Dimond said it was an opportunity to share her experience about her daughter's condition, which Lucy has had since birth.

"It became really bad when she was a toddler and we became aware that we had to use different soaps," she said.

Eczema or 'atopic dermatitis', is a common allergic skin condition and is one of a family of atopic diseases that includes asthma and hay fever.

It usually starts in childhood and in many people it persists to adulthood.

It causes inflamed, dry skin that can easily become infected or bleed, especially if scratched.

A range of creams are available to prevent scratching, but there is no cure for the condition.

Eczema affects as many as one in four children in Australia before they reach the age of two.

Activities like swimming, rolling around in the grass and wearing her favourite pyjamas trigger Lucy's eczema.

Although there are some things that she can't do, Ms Dimond said she doesn't want to stop Lucy from all the wonderful things that childhood is about.

"I try not to (restrict her from doing things); when she had swimming lessons at school I had to go to the swimming pool and put cream all over her before she got in and then when she got out, I had to bath her," she said.

"She gets moisturised three times a day, but she's used to it now and it's become her life."

Residents living with eczema, or who are interested in learning more about it can visit the Eczema Association of Australasia (EAA) website at Eczema or call 1300 300 182.

Topics:  eczema

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