Media / 05 Sep 2023

Eczema sufferers plead for condition to be taken more seriously

Extreme eczema sufferers are calling for a national strategy to get the chronic health condition taken more seriously.

More than three million Australians live with eczema, but many say they struggle to get treatment plans and access to dermatologists.

Emma Fisher’s four-year-old son Harry was diagnosed at five months old.

She said his condition is so bad, some days they can’t even leave the house.

“At its worst, it’s really hard,” an emotional Fisher told A Current Affair.

“We’ve spent at least over 100 grand just because of his skin.

“We had to move houses cause the house was too old, we had to get ducted air con to make sure the temperatures (were) right, we had to get a new car cause the seats weren’t leather.”

The family also spends thousands of dollars each year on creams and medication.

Amy Carr wants a national strategy to address more funding for sufferers too.

The 30-year-old still struggles with eczema and spends a fortune each year on treatments to help ease the itch.

“When I’m having a massive flare-up it feels like my skin is on fire – but also that I’ve got thousands of stabbing needles from my neck down,” Carr said.

Jenny Lay’s son, Atticus, is through the worst of his eczema but it took six years to find the right treatment plan.

“We are really lucky we’ve gotten on top of his eczema with his specialist and his dermatologist,” Lay said.

“However it’s still daily creaming, there’s a bit of medication involved but prior to that he was just not really a normal boy.”

Melanie Funk runs Eczema Support Australia.

She started the organisation after struggling to get the right help for her twin sons, who suffered with extreme eczema.

The organisation is now pushing the national strategy to help connect patients with the right care like “national standardised care, more financial support for this condition, as well as more access to treatment and more access to dermatologists and specialists”, Funk said.

Harry is doing better these days thanks to a new medication.

But it costs more than $2500 a month, with a compassionate fund at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney currently covering the cost for the family.

That funding runs out next year, which is why the family is hoping a national strategy will step in and help before the funding runs out.

A petition has been launched to support the call for a national strategy.

For more information about the petition, visit here.

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