19 January, 2021
Eczema charity supports at-risk children in school yard
A grassroots charity is offering every Australian teacher and parent access to a free Eczema School Kit as part of a passionate campaign to help children battling the devastating skin condition.
With one in five children suffering from eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), Eczema Support Australia is making every effort to work with schools to better support students living with the extremely itchy, often misunderstood, painful condition, that has such a huge impact on quality of life.
The campaign has resulted in the creation of innovative school kits for educators and parents/carers, with expert advice and strategies designed to help identify potential eczema triggers in the learning environment and simple solutions to prevent and/or care for a child’s outbreak.
Eczema Support Australia Managing Director Melanie Funk said current support for children with eczema in the Australian school system was minimal and didn’t consider the negative toll it had on both sufferers and their loved ones.
“School-age children with eczema often experience physical, emotional and educational struggles, which jeopardises their long-term well-being,” said Ms Funk, whose twin sons have battled chronic eczema since birth.
“The condition can lead to low confidence, absenteeism from school and isolation, while younger children in early learning are also at risk of adverse health and well-being when their needs are not met.
“Research shows eczema has a significant negative impact on education, social life and the family, with 20 per cent of children with the condition bullied and many left without basic healthcare and emotional support at school.”
Eczema Support Australia member Emily Hrudicka said she had at times struggled watching her 10-year-old daughter’s educational journey.
“Over the years Lily has suffered a little bit with bullying and other children being a little bit nasty to her because of her skin so that’s really hard to see your child go through,” she said.
“I think having eczema has made Lily more self-conscious as a person. She’s probably not quite as confident as she would have been not having had eczema.
“She’s always got to be aware of the weather and so many different factors and always having to put creams on and you don’t realise just how much it can affect every aspect of your life.
“I would describe eczema as debilitating and exhausting and it’s just sad to see her suffer.”
Lily added: “I kind of feel that I’m different because not many people in my class have eczema.”
The Eczema School Kit has been developed in consultation with and endorsement by The Australasian College of Dermatologists and with the support of Eczema Support Australia’s international colleagues. The rollout of the kit has been financially backed by the Commonwealth – Department of Health.
Registered Nurse and Eczema Support Australia Medical Liaison Anne Meehan said: “Children with moderate to severe eczema may experience recurrent flares, infections, constant itch, daily treatments and hospital admissions.
“Sleepless nights and physical pain are also common.”
Educators and parents/carers can download the free kit at the www.eczemasupport.org.au/school-kit, with hard copies available upon request.
Eczema Support Australia will host a free Zoom presentation and Q&A at 7pm (AEST) on Tuesday, 16 February, with members to demonstrate how to use the Eczema School Kit and answer participant questions.
To register, visit www.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0sceispzkvG9R110b51pln4o0VkzjZNimn or, for more information, email email@example.com
For more information, including media interviews and photos, please contact Melanie Funk on 0400 108 153 or firstname.lastname@example.org