Although there are many aspects to #eczema that can contribute to a reduction in quality of life, chronic itch is consistently ranked as the most prominent. Itch, referred to as ‘pruritus’ by doctors, affects every aspect of life, from falling or staying asleep to a patient’s ability to work, maintain intimate relationships, or even wear clothes.
Complex mechanisms involving immune dysregulation and skin barrier dysfunction cause the vicious cycle of itching and scratching. An ongoing study showed that 51.6% of patients experienced episodes of itching every day, and only 14.3% of patients could report no nights with trouble falling or staying asleep.
Controlling itch can go a long way in improving both physical and emotional well-being. So, what can you do?
- Whenever possible, avoid triggers such as stress, sweat, dry air, heat, and certain clothing.
- Track flares via a tool like the Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM) to give your doctor a fuller picture of your disease.
- Speak to your doctor about finding an appropriate treatment to control the overactive immune responses that cause flares of itchy skin and inflammation. (If you are located in Quebec, the McGill Center of Excellence for Atopic Dermatitis, a first-of-its-kind tertiary care clinic for adults with atopic dermatitis, accepts references. If you are located outside of Quebec, please visit our Resources link for more information.)