Water softener may relive eczema symptoms in kids

January 12th, 2009 - 5:27 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 12 (ANI): Based on the results of a recent research, scientists are hopeful that installing a home water softener can help relieve children’’s eczema symptoms.
The study, which began in 2007, and will run until this summer, will also look at the differing effects of hard and soft water on the condition, which leads to dry and itchy skin. While the skin ailment has been reported to be more common in hard-water areas, scientists are unaware of why that happens.
Eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In infants, it is usually seen on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.
For the study, scientists are recruiting children aged six months to 16 years with moderate to severe eczema.
While more than 230 children have already taken part, researchers are looking for another 80.
In the study, the children, or their parents, will be asked to complete a daily diary to record eczema symptoms, and issued with a small computerised wristband to monitor their level of night-scratching while they are asleep. The families are given the water softener for 12 weeks, which is taken away from another four to see the change, while the children continue to use their normal eczema treatment throughout the study.
In fact, a mother, Anne-Marie Crawford-Flanagan from Portsmouth, who has taken part in the research, said that she had seen a “dramatic improvement” in her son’’s condition.
Her 15-month-old son Dylan first developed eczema at the age of about three months, and his symptoms became increasingly serious.
However, the softener led to rapid and significant benefits.
“Less than two weeks after the softener was installed there was a dramatic improvement. Now there’’s barely a mark on him. He’’s a completely different baby,” the BBC quoted Anne-Marie as saying.
On removing the softener, Dylan’’s eczema started to return and prompted the family to buy their own device.
Margaret Cox, chief executive of the National Eczema Society, said that she wanted to have the evidence so that she could tell families about the benefit of using a softener.
“Anecdotally there are years of reports of people saying soft or softened water was helpful,” she said.
Further, she added that the suggestion was soft water was better to wash with, and therefore needed less soap or detergent, which are irritants for people with eczema. (ANI)

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