Looking for the silver lining: Patients share the pros (and cons) of COVID-19

As Canadians from coast-to-coast live through the COVID-19 pandemic, ESC is gaining a better understanding of the virus’ impact on the lives of individuals living with eczema.

We were surprised to learn that patients and their families have found both pros and cons to the changes in our lifestyles. Eczema patients and their families appear to be embracing the flexibility of working and going to school remotely. The feedback we received highlights the daily struggle of eczema sufferers, especially in a world outside of the pandemic.

PROS:

Some report having new freedom to dress in a way that suits their skin and prevent flares. Patients have noted that more time at home has allowed them to avoid triggers and reduce flares, and follow their own skin care schedule. Others report being able to access virtual medical care and mental health support, which is especially beneficial for those who live in remote regions. Some shared that they felt uniquely ready to manage the stay-at-home orders, as they are used to shutting themselves in when their skin is bad.

CONS:

While there have been a few silver linings, ESC has also received a lot of comments and inquiries from individuals who are struggling with hand and face eczema due to increased hand washing and mask wearing. Hand eczema is characterized by dry, itchy, and scaly patches of skin that can crake and flake and can be made worse by factors including frequent hand washing.

If you are experiencing more flares, or more severe symptoms, reach out to your health care provider. It is also recommended that you keep on top of skin care routines. As ESC recently reported , hand washing is typically preferred over hand sanitizers.

Dr. Miriam Weinstein is a pediatric dermatologist at Sick Kids, and frequent medical contributor with ESC. During a recent webinar Dr. Weinstein reminded us that eczema sufferers should wash their hands with a gentle cleanser, followed by moisturizer. Keeping the skin hydrated is imperative but using topical or prescribed medicines when hands are flared is also important. With everything going on, we can sometimes forget that step.

How has the COVID-19 experience impacted you? Share your story and write to us as communications@eczemahelp.ca. You can also find Dr. Weinstein’s webinar on ESC’s YouTube channel.