Atopic Dermatitis: Impact on Quality of Life

April 20, 2020

With regard for optimizing quality of life, Pamela Fantus, a patient with atopic dermatitis, considers how her condition influences her work and social environments.

With regard for optimizing quality of life, Pamela Fantus, a patient with atopic dermatitis, considers how her condition influences her work and social environments.

Transcript

Pamela Fantus: Atopic dermatitis changes your quality of life because you have to make changes. You can’t just act like you don’t have something, because you do. When you have itchy days, you’re not going to go out. You’re not going to feel like going out and seeing people. You want to stay in. You don’t want to scratch in front of people. You don’t want to have others say anything about you.

I still have to put on ointments every morning. You have to take the time to. It takes 20 to 30 minutes. I can’t wear silk clothes because the ointments will soak up in my clothes. I can’t wear wool. I’ve changed my house such that I don’t have a lot of carpet around because those are allergens. I can’t have pets in my house. I use special ointments. I use special detergents, soaps, and those types of things.

Those are all costly. Those are things that I do to help my skin be more comfortable on a daily basis, I would say.

If I’m not feeling well, if I’ve had a bad night’s sleep because I was itching all night, I’m not going to want to go to the office. I don’t want people to see me. I don’t want to be around other people. I know I’m going to be cranky and irritable. But because I can do it at home, it’s easier. I don’t have to worry about my clothes. But when you have to go to the office or go to the hospital, you need to dress appropriately. If you’re feeling itchy or you are tired from the night before, it’s difficult to get yourself motivated when your self-confidence is down from not feeling well or being up all night. It does make a difference for you.

When I was a child, I vividly remember children making fun of the spots on my skin and laughing and saying, “Oh, you have poison ivy.” I’d have to sit down and say, “No, it’s not poison ivy, I’m not contagious. I’m just like the rest of you.” It was a challenge enough for me back then. I can’t imagine for children nowadays, with the teasing and the bullying and the internet, how that it is. I think the best thing they can do is read up on it and have an understanding. I’ve noticed that in some of the doctor’s offices, they have books that we didn’t have back then that explain what it’s like to have atopic dermatitis and what it looks like. It’s in children’s books, so you can have a better understanding. I think for them, the best thing is to be honest about it and say, “This is what I have, it’s not contagious. I’m happy to be your friend,” or find more supportive friends who have an appreciation and understanding of your condition.

This video was supported by Pfizer.