Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Flynn spent the first 18 months of life living with atopic eczema. His tiny body was covered in angry, red blotches. He would spend hours scratching to the point of bleeding and found it difficult to sleep for more than an hour at time.
In Western Australia, approximately 6,000 babies are affected by eczema each year.
Babies with eczema have very dry, sensitive skin and get itchy, red, scaly patches on their tiny bodies. Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation is seeking $800,000 to establish and support the Dermatology Eczema Service.
This much needed service will be established to improve the skills and knowledge of health professionals and parents in the treatment and management of eczema.
While it’s not life-threatening, eczema can cause the skin to develop cracks, weep and even bleed. Bacterial infections such as staphylococcus and viral infections like herpes can get into the skin through the cuts and cracks that develop, leading to light-brown crusts, blisters and pain.
Flynn’s parents, Rebecca and Adam, took him to GP appointment after GP appointment desperate for a solution. They were given varying advice until, thankfully, they were able to secure an appointment with Dr Roland Brand, Head of Dermatology at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Currently there is a staggering three year wait list for an eczema related outpatient appointment with the Dermatology Department at PMH.
This is primarily driven by the reluctance of parents to use steroids to treat their child, and even of some GPs to prescribe them. Using a steroid based ointment along with a cool, wet compress for 15 minutes is the best treatment for eczema but studies have found that as many as four in five people are afraid to use steroids for eczema.
“Meeting Dr Brand was one of the best days of our lives,” explains Rebecca.
“He very calmly and clearly explained the simple treatment protocol we should follow and answered the questions I had about using the steroid cream he prescribed. Within a few days we saw a huge improvement in Flynn. After 10 days his eczema was completely cleared.
“I wish we had met Dr Brand 18 months earlier. Flynn would have been saved from so much suffering.
“I urge anyone who is able to support this incredible project to do so. If more people were aware of this simple treatment that can be very easily administered at home by parents, children wouldn’t have to suffer like Flynn did for so long.”
The objectives of the new Dermatology Eczema Service are to:
- Develop a series of education resources specifically targeting GPs and other health professionals on the correct treatment protocol for eczema.
- Reduce referrals for children with uncomplicated or under-treated eczema so the Dermatology Department at the hospital can focus on the most severe cases in a much timelier manner.
- Improve care and treatment of patients with eczema in rural and remote areas through outreach clinics and the use of the telehealth program.
- Potentially reduce eczema related food allergies in children including allergies to eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts and soy, all of which have been shown to be linked to eczema.
Click below to hear from Flynn’s mum Rebecca and Dr Roland Brand, Head of Dermatology at Princess Margaret Hospital:
To donate, click below or contact Anne Smith, Donor Relations Manager, on (08) 9489 1189 or via email.