Eczema is a childhood condition that you grow out of.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. For some the condition continues on into adult life creating a whole new range of problems. Whilst some people develop eczema for the first time as an adult.
Entering the workforce is one area that can be made more difficult if you have eczema.
Eczema is a chronic, allergic, inflammatory skin condition causing dry, red, scaly skin that may crack and bleed. It is uncomfortable and often unsightly.
Although not contagious, public understanding of the condition is limited, especially when the condition is present in adults. Simply choosing what jobs you apply for may be restricted by your eczema.
A lack of understanding
A lack of understanding often leads to discrimination resulting in an unsuccessful job interview due to the eczema sufferers appearance. An unfair situation, but unfortunately one that frequently occurs.
A recent study by ISOLATE (International Study of Life with Atopic Eczema) in the UK revealed that around 10% of adult eczema sufferers believe they have suffered discrimination at work. Discrimination includes being stared at, having comments made behind their back and not being accepted.
Eczema can affect performance at work. The ISOLATE study showed that during a flare up when the symptoms are at there worst the eczema sufferer will under perform for 10% of the time they are at work.
A moderate eczema sufferer spends approximately three months per year in a state of flare up, whilst a severe sufferer will spend approximately five months in a flare up. The impact on their performance at work is therefore quite significant.
Resolving the issue
There is no cure for eczema. Improving work performance and reducing discrimination at work therefore relies on finding a good treatment regime that it effective and easy to use. Being able to keep your eczema under control as much as possible will help to minimise the issues faced at work.
Discrimination often results from a lack of understanding. By increasing awareness of co-workers so they understand the condition, know that it is not contagious and that it can be controlled will help to reduce any discrimination. In service lectures, brochures or general conversation will help to increase the understanding of others.
New treatments are continuously becoming available. Treatments that are easier to use and more effective in controlling the symptoms of eczema. This will in time improve the quality of life for those with eczema as an adult.