Eczema: “Freeing the patient in the long run”

Which patients are referred to you for therapeutic patient education for atopic dermatitis?

We get patients from all over the West, about 50% children and 50% adults. They are referred by a dermatologist, pediatrician, general practitioner or PMI. These professionals contact the EduDerm * service when the patient has severe eczema or when therapeutic patient education (TPE) treatment may be an added value.

What is the purpose of therapeutic education?

The basic objective is to make the patient autonomous in the long run, to be able to adjust the care according to the evolution of the disease. It is important that he understands that the disease is chronic and that it often works in flare-ups. With TPE patients, it helps to identify the causes that make their condition worse. This will eliminate any misconceptions about the treatment, the use of topical treatments, the importance of regularity or the results not being as expected. While TPE improves compliance with prescriptions, it is not an important factor for successful treatment.

How would you explain skin care?

We demonstrate a care at the end of each individual TPE session, allowing us to work directly on the mistakes we make. Together with the patient, we examine his skin together, which shows us that the wounds should be treated. A point where we often have to come back because patients underestimate the need for treatment and their skin. You don’t just have to consider the color. Touch makes it possible to detect asperities. Pruritus, hemorrhage, fissures, fractures are other criteria for treatment. Reversing the order of temporary treatment is also common. For example, applying emollients before anti-inflammatory prevents the penetration of topical corticosteroids.

Do you use any special education method?

TPE workshops in the form of meetings are offered for patients aged 8 years. They often meet other children who have severe eczema like them. This makes it possible to work on the difficulties caused by the disease, especially in school. Because this disease can change schooling, creating absenteeism. Difficulties may be associated with visibility of the disease but also with pruritus and sleep disorders which may interfere with concentration. For example, we use the Eczema book ** created within the team (see below). It shows the symptoms of the disease and explains the care using visual symbols (either burning house or forest). A support that is suitable for parents and affected children, but also for adolescents and adults who have an idea about physiology …

Article taken from “Atopic dermatitis” published in the 21st issue of L’infirmièr.e (June 2022), interview with Thierry Penebel

* EduDerm, Hotel-Diu-A School of Atpi, Nantes University Hospital (Lower-Atlantic).

** The book Eczema was produced by the School of Atopy at the University Hospital in Nantes. Available at

Program request

Organized by the French Eczema Association, 8e National Eczema Day targets healthcare professionals and patients. In particular, it involves raising awareness and helping 2.5 million or more people overcome this “eczema ordeal.” Multiple effects both physical and mental: itching, plaque, pain, anxiety and depression, fatigue and insomnia, isolation, libido disorder …

Among the planned actions:

– A virtual conference to understand and overcome eczema

– Consolidation of 7 cities in France: Paris, Bordeaux, Guerrende, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nice and Saint Martin d’Orias, including: “Eczema Game”, a major new urban treasure hunt, numerous events, conferences, workshops and animation (specific) in each city Program for).

– A campaign featuring three visuals and a video, entitled “Stop Scratching Yourself” which will be deployed in digital, print and video from April to June to “get patients out of the itch complications”.

Detailed program on the website

In numbers

Children are victims of discrimination

15% of atopic children (51% in severe cases) get teased by their classmates at least once a week, when it is not a question of fighting!

33% of children (69% in severe cases) say that they have experienced discomfort, unhappiness or sadness in the last seven days due to their illness (EclA Junior Study 6-11 years-2021).

Eczema affects 20% of children under 7 years of age and 15% of children under one year of age. Atopic eczema often begins in the first three months of life.

Eczema and sexuality

According to the AFI (Atopy Family Impact) * study published in February 2022, it appears that the effect of eczema on the lives of the couple as a couple is more affected by the spouse than the patients. 26% of patients admit that their sexual desire decreases due to their eczema. Although their partner’s libido has decreased 39% of their partner! While 22% of patients believe that their eczema reduces their wife’s libido, in reality 42% of spouses admit that their partner’s eczema reduces their own sexual desire. Significant differences depending on the sex of the patient … When the patient is a woman, 33.7% of the spouses declare that their partner’s eczema reduces their own sexual desire. If the patient is a male, the figure increases by 46%!

Source: National Eczema Day Press Kit / French Eczema Association

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