Financial woes may worsen eczema symptoms

    Survey reveals stress triggers flare-ups in three out of four Canadians
    with eczema

    TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - Most people experience stress on a regular
basis, and worrying about the impact of our troubled economy doesn't help. The
added stress that financial struggles may cause could have serious
repercussions for people with eczema, as stress often triggers flare-ups of
this chronic skin condition that affects more than two million Canadians - of
which 12 to 25 per cent are children.
    Emotional factors - including stress - were reported to be the most
common cause of flare-ups in three out of four eczema sufferers, according to
a new survey on eczema in Canada. The Eczema Awareness, Support and Education
(EASE(R)) Program conducted a national online survey of eczema sufferers,
which was developed in consultation with Edmonton-based dermatologist Dr.
Marlene Dytoc. The survey is a follow-up to the 2005-2006 survey also
conducted by the EASE Program.
    The survey results also revealed that for half the respondents, flare-ups
occurred most frequently during the winter. Chilly, dry air and indoor heating
can dehydrate the skin and cause eczema flare-ups, which makes February -
Eczema Awareness Month in Canada - an especially difficult season for eczema
    "While we may not be able to prevent stress from occurring, especially
during the winter, it is important for people with eczema to do what they can
to reduce their stress levels," says Dr. Marlene Dytoc, an Associate Clinical
Professor of Medicine in the Division of Dermatology and Cutaneous Sciences of
the University of Alberta. "Reducing stress and having a positive attitude can
help keep eczema under control," adds Dr. Dytoc, who analyzed the survey
results with medical student Paul Kuzel.
    Dr. Dytoc recommends getting regular exercise, practicing relaxation
techniques (like yoga or meditation) and taking part in enjoyable activities
as ways to help manage stress. "People with eczema should also make sure to
eat well and maintain an effective skin care routine to keep symptoms under
control," she explains.

    -   Eczema was reported to have far-reaching effects on sufferers' lives,
        with adults reporting attempting to conceal their eczema as being
        their biggest concern (36 per cent). Other major concerns were
        problems concentrating at work or school (29 per cent), being unable
        to sleep at night (28 per cent) and difficulty playing certain sports
        (27 per cent).
    -   Difficulty sleeping at night was the primary complaint for children
        (43 per cent). Other issues for young eczema sufferers were the
        impact of eczema on their family activities (38 per cent), as well as
        hiding their eczema (23 per cent).

    To provide quality education on eczema and to address the needs of those
affected by the condition, the EASE Program ( offers a
variety of educational resources for eczema sufferers, parents of children
with eczema, friends and family members, which can be downloaded free of
charge. The EASE Program, a four-time winner of the Canadian Dermatology
Association's Public Education Award, 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.
    For more information about eczema or the EASE Program, visit Parents, teachers and young children can also visit - a fun, child-friendly website that aims to help children
understand eczema.

    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 education 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,

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
René Samulewitsch, (416) 425-9143 ext. 223,

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