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Eczema relief hope from water softener

12th January 2009

A UK team is carrying out a study to find out if the installation of water-softening devices can help children's eczema problems.


The research, funded by the Department of Health, is looking at how hard and soft water can affect eczema.

Eczema can cause the skin to become dry and itchy. It has been shown to be more prevalent in areas which have a hard water supply.

The condition is suffered by around 20% of children in the UK. It is usually found on the face and around the elbow, knee and ankle areas.

The research, which started in 2007 and will carry on until mid-2008, is looking at children from the ages of six months to 16 years who suffer from "moderate to severe" eczema.

Study centres are located in Leicester, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Boston, Lincoln, Nottingham, Newport on the Isle of Wight and London.

The cases of around 230 children have been studied, although the team now wants to recruit 80 more children.

The families taking part in the study will need to complete a diary every day about the eczema and each child will be given a wristband to gauge levels of scratching at night.

They will be given a water-softening device for three months.

One mother found that her baby's severe eczema was drastically improved following the introduction of the device. The baby's symptoms began to come back when the softener was taken away, so she purchased her own softener.

Professor Tara Dean of Portsmouth University, one of the experts co-ordinating the study, said: "If water softeners are found to improve the symptoms of eczema it will be a breakthrough for both patients and doctors."


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Article Information

Title: Eczema relief hope from water softener
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9785
Date Added: 12th Jan 2009


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