The event was a huge success with the 150-person auditorium packed! This was despite the heavy downpour and the traffic jams along various expressways! And NSC staff were excellent – so many volunteered their Saturday, and all of them are earnest and positive! Hurray!
Some notes that I took, based on talks by doctors – Prof Giam and Dr Mark Tang.
Prof Giam’s speech – Eczema Made Simple
– The mind being very important to have the right attitude to managing eczema
– Genetic condition and linked to other conditions like sinus, asthma
– 2-3 times increase in eczema over last 30 years, affects 21% of Singapore school kids
– Related to filaggrin gene, read more in previous post here
– Usually starts with lower filaggrin gene, followed by exposure to environmental factors, allergen sensitization, staph bacteria colonization and sensitization to proteins.
– Also mentioned need to see doctor if infection due to herpes virus, not to self-medicate, see previous post here.
Dr Mark Tang’s Speech – What Works, What Doesn’t
What Dr Tang conveyed was the thought process and general guidelines that eczema patients can use to determine if they ought to explore another treatment.
– Chronic condition, so beware of ‘cures’ – sometimes, the pictures on the blog may not be of eczema, may be artificially altered or it could have got better cos eczema comes and goes (and the better picture is taken on a good day)
– Good thing is 70% outgrow – could improve to a localized, manageable eczema
– Assess treatment on whether it has been subject to clinical trials, or it is based on collective experience or personal experience (decreasing reliability, obviously!)
– Differentiate between safe vs no known side effects – esp. for TCM or magic pills (which may turn out to be steroid)
– Guard against severe diet restriction – foods are assumed safe, unless proven. A picture of a child in developed country having a nutrition equal to that in undeveloped country was shown, due to severe restriction to just rice milk
– Use steroid under supervision, not just buy and use at your own discretion
– Moisturizing has proven to reduce risk of eczema relapse by 1/3 – read more here on outside-in hypothesis
In Panel Q&A
– Question on differentiating heat rash from eczema – child’s sweat glands not fully developed, thus easier to have heat rash. Need to be confirmed by doctor.
– Phototherapy – for adults, cos need to stand in a box, wear goggles, thus more suitable for adults and teens; a specific spectrum of UV rays that is studied to reduce inflammation is shined onto the patient during therapy.
– Steroid cream not working sometimes could be due to not using the right strength, amount/frequency or if there’s infection. (I always clean my girl with chlorhexidine before applying steroid, particularly on bad days)
– On Protopic – Been in market for 10 years, thus far, no evidence on increasing cancer, read more here
So, above are the notes I took! And I’m so so happy (and a big phew!) my speech was delivered well (though my hubby commented it’s OK LAH cos Prof Giam and Dr Tang spoke so well!)
p.s. this blog post, as all blog posts, are written by me and not subject to vetting by any doctor. So there’s a chance I may not be 100% accurate in my note-taking, well, to be very sure you heard right, you’ve to attend the next event yourself!