Long term health conditions

Katie - Interview 23

Female
Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 11

Brief outline: Katie was diagnosed with chronic eczema at the age of 11 but her eczema began to get worse in her teen years. She has had lots of different treatments for her eczema and has learned from experience what works and has improved her symptoms. She said that sleep is important as well as drinking plenty of filtered water.

Background: Katie is at university and lives in shared student accommodation. She says that as you grow older it gets easier to accept your eczema and that a positive attitude and doing the right things to improve it all helps. Ethnic background/nationality' White.

Audio & video

Katie was diagnosed at 11 years of age but her eczema began to get worse in her teen years. During the periods when her eczema was severe, the skin around her eyes became red and raw. Sometimes she would also have the eczema around her mouth and that led to infections for which she needed antibiotics. She worried about people looking at her and had to stop herself from laughing when she had a mouth infection as it hurt. Both things made her feel down. 

Bad patches of eczema do still occasionally occur but not as commonly as when she was a teenager and attending school. At school she said no one was unkind or talked behind her back but peers would make insensitive remarks about her looks, not because they wanted to hurt her, but simply because they didn't know about her condition. She always told people about her eczema. 

Katie has had lots of different treatment for her eczema and has learned from experience about what works and improves her symptoms. She said that when her eczema is really bad, and she feels like scratching all the time, she takes antihistamines to calm her symptoms. In addition she has tried different types of steroid creams with antibiotics and ointments for some part of her body and cream for others. She uses an oatmeal base soap and lotion that are really mild and do not irritate her skin. She is worried about the long term effects of the steroid cream and limits its use till when her eczema is really bad.

Overall she has a holistic approach to her condition and tries to prevent her eczema from developing rather than treating the symptoms when they're there. To do this she has changed her lifestyle and avoids 'triggers' that she knows aggravate her eczema - like late nights. Katie has found that plenty of sleep and drinking filtered water helps to keep her condition under control. She is also a vegetarian.

She said that as you grow older it get easier to accept your condition and that a positive attitude and doing the right things to improve it all helps.

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