Eczema Awareness Day 2020
Ego is proud of its long-standing relationship with the Eczema Association Australasia (EAA). As part of Eczema Awareness Day 2020, we’ve interviewed EAA President Cheryl Talent to find out a little more about the fantastic work they are doing.
(1) Tell us a little about the history and background of the Eczema Association Australasia. How has your mission developed over the years?
The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc (EAA) was founded in January 1994 and started as a local morning coffee group for people to connect and share ideas because of the lack of information about eczema available from health professionals. Since then, the EAA has grown to become a national organisation that anyone can call with their skin concerns and get independent advice and help.
The EAA’s mission is about bringing community support, awareness and mass advocacy to the management and treatment of Eczema and providing education of the wider community on how eczema affects people’s lives.
(2) What’s your personal connection to Eczema? How did you get involved with EAA?
My experience as a lifelong eczema sufferer has allowed me to empathise with EAA members on a personal level. Educating myself about managing my own eczema effectively has made me very passionate about trying to help other sufferers. We know at this stage that there is no cure for eczema, but good management for most sufferers is achievable. Eczema sufferers need to know that there is somewhere they can contact for information which is not biased and can help point them in the right direction for more help.
(3) How many members/people does your organisation support?
The EAA supports all eczema sufferers nationwide and offers individual membership where members can request a range of services. We have corporate members who support us and on whom we rely for up-to-date information on products to help in the management of eczema. We also work with many other health-related organisations who assist us in the continuous updating of our resources and educational tools.
(4) What kind of services do you offer to your members?
We provide our members with valuable knowledge and first-hand experience on how to manage and treat eczema with advice and support across a wide range of issues, from diet and irritants to clothing and managing stress.
Our members also have access to our magazine ‘Eczema Quarterly’ which is the only eczema dedicated magazine in Australia. They can also request samples of some products specifically designed for eczema and have access to our range of information sheets on specific issues. Becoming a member of the EAA allows sufferers to feel that they are not alone in trying to manage their skin condition and know that they have a friendly and impartial ear to listen to their concerns at any time.
(5) What are some of the most common concerns or questions that come to you/EAA?
The most common question we are asked on almost a daily basis is whether or not they [sufferers]
should be using topical steroid creams or not and which types of cleansing and moisturising products to use.
A lot of our time at the EAA is also spent talking to sufferers about how to use their treatments/products correctly, as they often get confused with the information they receive from various other sources including their health professionals.
There are now some newer treatments available with less side effects which is great news for many sufferers, however one of the hardest messages to get across is that at the moment there is no cure for eczema.
(6) What do you think the biggest concern is for eczema sufferers currently?
Eczema sufferers feel as though nobody cares about their illness and they are still dismissed from being actual sufferers of a serious medical condition. This is slowly changing as worldwide eczema cases are increasing – Australia being amongst the highest! Eczema sufferers would like to see more research being undertaken that would one day lead to a cure as unfortunately the current treatments available are very limited and misunderstood.
(7) What would you like to see happen in future?
My goal for the future of the EAA is to provide the best support services to our members and the public, dispel the myths surrounding the skin condition eczema, and to be able to grant Research funds to hopefully find a cure for future generations. We very much encourage our members to be involved in trials for treatments and products which is the only way we will discover better options.
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