Education is key to taking control of eczema - February is Eczema Awareness Month

    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - The cold, dark days of winter can be gloomy for
many people; but for eczema sufferers, it can be downright painful. Chilly,
dry air, as well as indoor heating, can dehydrate the skin and cause flare-ups
of this chronic, and often misunderstood, skin disorder. February is Eczema
Awareness Month. The Eczema Awareness Month campaign will shed light on
eczema, empowering Canadians who may be in the dark about coping with this
common, life-altering condition that affects more than two million Canadians.
    Designated by the Eczema Awareness, Support and Education (EASE(R))
Program - Canada's most comprehensive eczema resource available on the web -
in 2003, Eczema Awareness Month serves as an opportunity to focus national
attention on eczema (also called atopic dermatitis). The condition causes
inflammation deep in the skin and symptoms include dry, itchy skin and a
painful red, raw-looking rash. Each individual's eczema can be triggered by
unique environmental factors, which may appear when the body reacts to
environmental elements that would normally be harmless.
    It is widely believed that individuals who are knowledgeable about their
medical condition will have better results when managing their health and
well-being. Understanding the disease and what triggers an individual's
eczema, as well as making certain lifestyle changes, can help alleviate the
discomfort and frustration associated with eczema. While there is no cure,
effective therapies exist to help manage eczema.
    Thousands of eczema sufferers, their parents, family members and friends
have already turned to the EASE Program to learn about the latest treatment
options, obtain advice about managing the condition and tips on talking with
others about eczema. The EASE Program's wide range of educational material

    - - the most comprehensive Canadian-based eczema
       resource available on the web, this newly-redesigned, interactive
       website offers patient information and helpful tips on managing
       eczema, as well as access to past editions of The Eczaminer, EASE
       Program brochures and other educational material, that can all be
       downloaded free of charge.

    -  Eczema: It's time to take control - a comprehensive booklet filled
       with facts about eczema, various treatment options and information
       about the EASE Program. Now available in English, French, Mandarin,
       Punjabi and Vietnamese!

    -  Helping you take control of your eczema - a brochure filled with facts
       about the signs and symptoms of eczema, as well as a self-test and
       information about the EASE Program.

    -  But it itches so much! - a brochure intended for parents of children
       with eczema, with tips on managing childhood eczema at home and at

    -  The Eczaminer - a seasonal newsletter that highlights current eczema-
       related news and tips.

    -  Penny's World - a fun, child-friendly website that aims to help
       children understand eczema, Penny's World features interactive
       learning activities and games, as well as a free colourful storybook,
       Penny's EGGS-im-ah, which can be downloaded at

    Since its inception in 2002, the EASE Program has been recognized by
experts in the field of dermatology as THE source for credible,
medically-reviewed information and educational support on eczema for
Canadians. In fact, the EASE Program recently earned accolades when it
received its fourth Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) Public Education
Award. The award is granted annually by the CDA for excellence in furthering
the understanding of dermatologic issues and encouraging healthy behaviour in
the medical, surgical and cosmetic care of skin, hair and nails.(1)
    "This Eczema Awareness Month, we hope to encourage Canadians to educate
themselves about eczema," says Dr. Ronald Vender, a Hamilton-based
dermatologist and Director of Dermatrials Research. "While eczema can have a
profound impact on individuals and families, people who have the information
and support they need tend to feel less isolated and misunderstood. The EASE
Program offers valuable advice and information about everything from daily
skincare to managing eczema in the winter and aims to empower people to help
control their condition."

    For more information about eczema or the EASE Program, visit

    About the Eczema Awareness, Support and Education (EASE(R)) Program

    The Eczema Awareness, Support and Education (EASE) Program is a national
and fully bilingual patient education program developed with the assistance of
leading Canadian dermatologists to provide access to useful and accurate
information about eczema. Supported through an educational grant from Astellas
Pharma Canada, Inc., the EASE Program has been recognized with four Public
Education Awards from the Canadian Dermatology Association (2003, 2004, 2005,

    (1) Canadian Dermatology Association website -

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: high-resolution photos or to arrange an
interview with Dr. Vender, please contact: Suzanne Gold, Communications MECA
Médicomm, (416) 425-9143/1-866-337-3362 x 230,

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Eczema Awareness, Support and Education (EASE) Program

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