We get this question sometimes and it’s most often by people WITHOUT Eczema who know people–and in fact are likely to be very close with people–who have it. Granted, we are pretty sensitive to this question, but it often seems rooted a bit in victim-blaming and not sharing the agony that can often result from lifelong battles with Eczema.
To cut to the quick, we are going to pull in the words directly from the National Eczema Association that tell us…”while eczema is not life-threatening, there is a considerable psychological impact. It’s itchy, it’s painful, and it’s not just a skin condition.”
It is this point we want to make clear. Eczema is unlikely to send anyone to the emergency room or keep them from breathing or cause them to bleed to death. As they NEA says, it’s not life threatening in that normative sense. However, it is a threat to life. You don’t get to live the same life in the same comfort as people who do not have this condition. We are not trying to be dramatic, but it’s very hard to explain how much this condition can negatively affect your life if you don’t have it.
Don’t Discount Indirect Effects
While we hopefully cleared up right away that you or someone you know is unlikely to be at any immediate health risk from Eczema, there are indirect effects of having Eczema that can cause issues.
The main one is general discomfort. Having unbearably itchy skin creates general discomfort and that combined with other issues, can exacerbate both how you feel and how people observe you as feeling. You might have a common cold or the flu, but paired with raging Eczema, it might feel like the end of the world, and more importantly, others may observe you as being in worse shape than you are; no fault of theirs.
*Just a quick note here, that as you and your loved ones age with Eczema, it is important to have both language/signals to your family if something is life threatening, as well as some type of medical alert pendant or medical ID bracelet in case you are in the company of strangers. You family you be educated with language about how you are feeling, so that they know when there is an emergency. And strangers should be able to find bracelets and alert buttons to get you help when you are away from home.
Anxiety is another factor that can directly contribute to general health and wellness. Often a person’s Eczema will cause them anxiety and even depression and those both can drag in a host of other issues, such as IBS, that are both hard to shake and often hard to diagnose to true source. Here again, while Eczema is not a direct threat to life, it can draw other issues into the fray that can cause major issues. Stress and anxiety can in turn provoke more Eczema symptoms, making matters worse.
The point of all this is to allay the nerves of sufferer’s so they know they aren’t in direct danger of dying from this condition, and also to educate those without Eczema that the lack of lethality of this condition makes it no less difficult or stressful for the sufferer to endure