Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

New study finds online support can improve eczema in children and young people

A new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham has found that appropriate online support can improve eczema in children and young people.

Eczema is very common and can have a substantial impact on quality of life and costs to the NHS. Treatment can be complex and many people say that they receive insufficient or conflicting advice about how to use eczema treatments.

To tackle the problem, researchers invited young people (aged 13 to 25 years) and parents or carers of small children to test a website that was specifically designed to support self-management of eczema. The site, which is now available for anyone to use, is free from commercial influences and provides information, such as how to use eczema treatments and how to avoid potential trigger factors, based on the latest research. Users can also watch short videos or print off resources to help when discussing eczema with healthcare professionals.

The results –published this week in The BMJ – show that the Eczema Care Online website not only improved peoples’ eczema within six months but it also led to sustained benefits over a whole year. The website was tested in two randomised controlled trials including over 650 people with eczema (340 parents or carers of children with eczema and 337 young people who were caring for their own eczema). People who used the website during the study were extremely positive about the experience:

“I thought I knew how to look after my child’s eczema, but I learned so many new things from Eczema Care Online about how to keep eczema under control – things I would have never thought of!”

“It was one of the best websites I’ve ever used. It was really easy to use and provided the answers to your specific questions. I didn’t have to read through lots of stuff that wasn’t relevant to me.”

Kim Thomas, Professor of Applied Dermatology Research at the University of Nottingham, co-led the research. She explains: “This website is a fantastic resource for people with eczema and we hope that they will find it a useful addition to the care that they receive from healthcare professionals. This project was produced in partnership with people who live with eczema, and they helped us to develop the content to reflect their needs.”

Professor Miriam Santer, GP and research co-lead adds: “Health professionals often don’t have enough time to go into all the details about how to look after eczema. We hope that this website will be rapidly rolled out within the NHS to provide effective help for eczema without causing extra workload for staff”.

The University of Nottingham is a world leader in skin research – particularly in atopic eczema. Our Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology produces internationally renowned research that has a direct impact on clinical practice.

The Eczema Care Online website is freely available at www.EczemaCareOnline.org.uk. The project was funded by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and a collaboration between the University of Southampton, University of Nottingham, University of Bristol, University of East Anglia and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

About Eczema Care Online

Eczema Care Online is a research project that aims to help parents, children, and young people get control and keep control of their eczema. The Website and trial results official video is available at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za31Y5MNw3c

About Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

We conduct independent research into the treatment and prevention of skin disease that is of direct relevance to patients, clinicians and NHS managers.

The Centre has an international reputation for skin research and evidence based practice. We produce around 40-50 peer-reviewed publications per year and are one of the highest income generators for non-commercial dermatology research in the world. Further information is available here.

 

About the University of Nottingham: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia – part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021.

We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner – locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash