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Rady Children's Specialists

Eczema Physical and Emotional Effects


Eczema has a significant impact on the quality of life of patients and families, affecting both physical and emotional health.

Physical Effects:

  • Inflamed, itchy rashes can involve any and all of the skin surfaces and are frequently complicated by skin breakdown and bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
  • Eczema can be associated with other allergic conditions, including asthma, food allergies and rhinitis.
  • Any level of eczema can be extremely uncomfortable and, at times, painful. Individuals with moderate to severe disease report that it hugely disturbs their sleep and affects their performance of daily activities, including school, sports activities, work and peer relationships. Patients typically describe it as constantly suffering from 1000 paper cuts on their skin.
  • In studies, individuals with eczema reported more negative impact on quality of life than those with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Emotional Effects:

  • Patients and their families can experience considerable emotional distress because of people’s response to this illness.
  • Caregivers and families can especially suffer because of the psychosocial stress the disease takes, attributed to sleep disturbance, anxiety and stress over the affected member, and helping the affected member complete his/her skin care regimen.
  • Depression and anxiety are more common in individuals with eczema.
  • Patients can experience considerable discrimination and social isolation. People often stare or step back in fear from those who have this condition. The end result for patients can be a lifetime of struggling with their sense of worth and self-esteem.