Earlier this week, I was talking to our vice president of development, Rebecca Sager, about her daughter Tilly and my heart went out to them. Tilly is one of 16.5 million Americans who live with atopic dermatitis (AD), a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that causes itchy, dry scaly skin.
For Tilly and others who live with this disorder, the symptoms show up on the skin but it can cause issues beneath the surface as well, and the effects can be profound. "Every decision we made was controlled by Tilly's condition. We lived in a perpetual state of exhaustion," Rebecca shared while telling her story as part of our new AD education program.
Our new program offers in-depth information to help you or a loved one manage AD, the most common form of eczema. Dr. Elizabeth Liotta, a dermatologist and member of HealthyWomen's Women's Health Advisory Council, guides you through the questions you should bring up with your healthcare provider about symptoms, triggers, treatments and more.
We also look at the ways that Covid-19 precautions, like mask-wearing and frequent handwashing, have made the condition worse for many, and offer advice on how to avoid a flare and keep symptoms at bay. And in our story, "Atopic Dermatitis Shows Up on Your Skin, But Its Effects Go Much Deeper," we consider the mental health effects of the condition and share steps you can take to relieve stress and anxiety.
We explore the caregiver role through Rebecca's story, "What It's Like to Care for a Child With Severe Eczema." There are many women out there like Rebecca who have a loved one with AD and take on the caregiver role, supporting their loved one's physical and emotional well-being while navigating medical appointments and health insurance.
Rebecca, whose daughter is now 11, told me, "I want caregivers of kids like Tilly to know it's OK to take time for themselves, even if it feels selfish. It's important to step back and acknowledge how your child's condition is impacting the other members of your family — including you."
I hope you take her advice.
This resource was created with support from Regeneron and Sanofi Genzyme.