How has the COVID‐19 pandemic affected eczema self‐management and help seeking? A qualitative interview study with young people and parents/carers of children with eczema

M. Steele, L. Howells, M. Santer, K. Sivyer, S. Lawton, A. Roberts, E. Teasdale, I. Muller, K. Greenwell

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Abstract

Background: Eczema can have a considerable impact on quality of life. Treatments can improve this, but management is complex. Barriers to eczema self-management may be impacted upon by environmental context, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives: To explore experiences of eczema, self-management, and accessing healthcare and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic among young people with eczema and parents/carers of children with eczema.

Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were carried out with 36 participants recruited from general practices as part of randomised controlled trials of online eczema resources.

ResultsChanges to everyday life—Periods of staying at home due to the pandemic alter the burden of eczema, with reports of an improved routine and application of topical treatments for many, but difficulties with handwashing for others. Parents/carers reported improved eczema control due to closures of educational settings. Young people reported higher stress that may have triggered eczema flare-ups. Changes to access to advice and treatment—There was a reluctance to seek medical appointments in a non-emergency situation. Participants reported a lack of trust in the outcome of telephone consultations because health professionals were unable to see or feel the skin. Delays or difficulties when obtaining appointments and treatments caused frustration. Access to an online eczema resource was reported to have extra value in the context of the pandemic.

Conclusion: Changes to lifestyle and access to healthcare during the pandemic have affected eczema and self-management. Healthcare settings may want to consider providing extra reassurance around remote consultations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalSkin Health and Disease
Early online date23 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 23 Jun 2021

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