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Response to Guardian article on skin diversity on www.covidskinsigns.com

The BAD recognizes the healthcare inequities facing people of color across the world, and within the UK, and strongly denounces racism in any form. We believe that representation of all skin types in dermatology textbooks, research and image databases is important.

In response to Guardian article, we would like to clarify the following: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/28/covid-19-skin-rash-website-criticised-for-lack-of-bame-examples

The website hosts images taken and uploaded by members of the public themselves, rather than by doctors or medical photographers, through the COVID-19 Symptom Study app. The app was developed by health science company ZOE. The app launched a survey on social media and through the app which specifically called for images of suspected COVID-19 skin signs on darker skin to be uploaded, a proportionally low number of images on non-white skin were received compared to white skin. The reasons for this need to be examined, but may in part be because rashes on darker skin can be difficult to photograph.

The British Association of Dermatologists was keen to fund and help develop a free, easy to access website on which these Covid-19 rash images could be made available for the public and healthcare workers to see, and we wanted to get the available images online as soon as possible, in case they can help people in assessing their symptoms, and to help reduce the spread of the disease. Of the original images, the quality was very variable. A team of volunteers removed those which were blurry, of low quality, did not show a Covid rash, or had other issues such as the person being identifiable in the image.

It has been reported that only two of the images of the site are of darker skin types; this is not correct, although the number is still lower than we would like. Following feedback, we are now planning to upload images of darker skin tones even where the rash is less clear, as this may be preferable to not featuring images that fully represent all skin types. Our overall intention with this project was to provide a public service to help people during a difficult time, certainly not to cause division or distress, and we sincerely hope we can achieve this.

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Further evidence highlights mouth, lip, and skin lesions as signs of COVID-19

The results of a study published as a research letterin the British Journal of Dermatologytoday, provide further evidence to support the case that oral lesions and skin rashes, also known as mucocutaneous manifestations, are an important sign of COVID-19.

The study included 666 COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate pneumonia, being treated in a temporary field hospital set up during the pandemic’s peak in Madrid, Spain. The mean age of the patients was 56, 58% of them were female.

Forty-six per cent of patients had some form of mucocutaneous manifestation, with issues with the skin on the hands and feet being particularly common (40%), as well as findings inside the mouth (26%). The most common hand and foot issue was diffuse skin peeling (25%), and most common issue found in the mouth was transient lingual papillitis, also known as lie bumps, characterised by the appearance of small red or white bumps on the tongue.

Urticaria (6.9%), rash (2.9%) and vesicular eruptions (1.6%) were observed in a minority of patients.

The higher prevalence of COVID-19 associated mucocutaneous manifestations in this study compared to prior ones may be because this study included manifestations not previously described, particularly lesions inside the mouth. Conversely, skin rashes alone were relatively uncommon (11%) in this study compared to previous studies, the authors hypothesise several reasons for this, including the age of the group being studied.

The British Association of Dermatologists has set up an online gallery highlighting some of the common skin symptoms of COVID-19, to help improve understanding of the disease amongst healthcare professionals, researchers, and the public. This is available here: www.covidskinsigns.com

 

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Parliamentary report reveals worrying lack of mental health support for skin disease patients

New mental health funding promised to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)* must urgently be used to invest in and improve mental health services that are dedicated to dermatology patients, according to a report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS).

The call is prompted by survey data revealing that 98 per cent of skin disease patients feel their condition affects their emotional and psychological wellbeing, and five per cent have suicidal thoughts, yet only 18 per cent have received some form of psychological support. Over half of the patients surveyed for the report did not realise specialised support was available for people with skin conditions, in the form of psychodermatology.

The APPGS raises concerns that access to specialist mental health support for people with skin disease is limited throughout the UK, despite a growing need for such services. This is particularly worrying since the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health distress in a skin community that was known already to experience significant appearance-related distress.

Evidence was collected in March and April 2020 from over 500 UK patients with a range of skin conditions, a hundred clinicians, and 16 organisations operating in the field of dermatology. Of the 16 skin organisations contributing to the report, all said that they felt NHS service provision in this area is either ‘poor’ (80 per cent) or ‘very poor’ (20 per cent).

The aim of the report was to gain insight into the state of mental health services available to patients with skin conditions in the UK and the psychological impact of these conditions.

Mandatory psychodermatology training, an increase in dermatology training numbers, and comprehensive dedicated psychodermatology services in each region of the UK were all identified as key recommendations for improving services. In addition, the report found that there is a need for all dermatology units to have named, dedicated staff either to manage patients with skin and mental health disease or refer patients to a nearby regional service. The density of dermatology units able to offer these services needs to reflect the UK population and needs to include all devolved nations, as currently there are no services in Wales and few in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Another major issue identified by the report is the lack of paediatric psychodermatology clinics – currently there is only one in the UK. All too often, children are not offered support services, which has a profound impact on their long-term mental health, life course and wellbeing into adulthood. Therefore, a key recommendation of the report is that, at a minimum, there should be access to regional paediatric psychodermatology clinics.

Psychological burdens are extremely common in people with skin conditions. The impact can be debilitating and seen across all aspects of patients’ lives. The APPGS survey of people with skin conditions found:

  • 93% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on their self-esteem
  • 87% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on their social life or leisure and sporting activity
  • 83% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on their sleep
  • 73% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on intimate relationships
  • 69% of people with skin disease reported a negative impact on their work or education
  • 5% of people with skin disease reported having suicidal thoughts
  • 100% of the 27 children who responded to the survey indicated that their skin condition affected their psychological wellbeing, and 85% felt they had low self-esteem
  • Of the children with low self-esteem, 85% reported this being particularly in relation to engaging with peers at school


Sir Edward Leigh MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skin and Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, said:

“This timely report comes out during a period of unpresented psychological distress for many people living with a skin condition. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated anxiety and stress amongst those already known to experience significant appearance-related distress.

I know from direct experience the impact skin conditions can have on your mental health. I have rosacea, which is an incurable condition causing red and visible blood vessels on the skin. On almost a daily basis I am mocked on social media for the noticeable visible difference caused by my rosacea. It is clear, from the powerful and moving testimony we received from skin patients, that many others experience similar episodes of discrimination, rejection and negative reactions. This can be alienating and deeply distressing.

People living with a skin condition deserve the right to be provided with excellent and appropriate psychological support to manage their condition. However, I was alarmed by the lack of psychological support that is available to people with a skin condition. Therefore, the NHS must urgently invest in, and expand, specialist mental health support for people with a skin condition.

The APPG on Skin will be discussing the findings and recommendations from our report with Government and key policy-makers within the NHS to ensure that vital improvements are made to services.”

Dr Tony Bewley, Consultant Dermatologist and Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Skin’s Expert Committee, said:

“Skin conditions are extremely common, and it has been shown time and again that they often have a significant impact on peoples’ mental health. Despite this, the availability of specialised mental health services for people with skin conditions remains poor, and in some regions non-existent.

“As this vital report illustrates, children and young people, who can be particularly vulnerable to mental health issues and bullying related to their skin health and appearance, have been particularly let down in this area. As it stands there is only one paediatric psychodermatology clinic in the UK, which is clearly inadequate.

“Evidence is increasingly showing that providing comprehensive dedicated services for patients with skin and mental health disease is both cost and clinically efficient. We are keen to urge commissioners to recognise the evidence highlighted in this report which shows that investment in specialised mental health services for people with skin conditions is cost effective compared to the alternatives.”

Notes to Editors:

*NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 – The funding available to CCGs for mental health services is set to increase from £596 million in 2019/20 to an indicative figure of £1,921 million in 2023/24.

This is a summary of the full report, which is available online here: http://www.appgs.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Mental_Health_and_Skin_Disease2020.pdf

The report contains further information about the surveys and data collection, as well as a list of participating organisations.

More than a dozen leading doctors, specialising in dermatology and mental health led the report, as well as the dermatology specialist groups, the British Association of Dermatologists, the Primary Care Dermatology Society, and the British Dermatological Nursing Group. Patient organisations involved in the membership of the Working Group which led the inquiry include:

  • Ichthyosis Support Group
  • British Association of Dermatologists
  • British Skin Foundation
  • Changing Faces
  • Psoriasis Association
  • British Dermatological Nursing Group
  • National Eczema Society
  • Vitiligo Society
  • Primary Care Dermatology Society


For more information contact the media team on: comms@bad.org.uk

Psychodermatology is a discipline and sub-speciality of dermatology that recognises the link between the skin and the mind. Psychological interventions, either alone or adjunctive to conventional dermatology treatments, can be helpful in both coping with and treating many skin conditions.

About the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS) is a group comprising members from all political parties, health professionals and patients which aims to increase understanding of skin care issues and improve treatment.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin was established in 1994 with an aim to increase understanding about skincare issues in Parliament, and to achieve improvements in the treatment and management of patients with skin disease in England. It also provides an unbiased means of responding to threats to dermatology services and acts as a forum for partners in skincare to engage with politicians with an interest in the issue.

The APPGS has a large and active membership that includes MPs from all political parties, members of the House of Lords, health professionals, patient groups and industry representatives. The APPGS benefits from clinical input from its Advisory Panel. The activities of the Advisory Panel are subject to the approval of the Group’s parliamentary Officers and, in particular, the Group’s parliamentary Chairman, Sir Edward Leigh MP.

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COVID Symptom Study App and British Association of Dermatologists launch COVID skin rash gallery

21st SEPTEMBER 2020, LONDON, UK. The COVID Symptom Study, ZOE and the British Association of Dermatologists today launches a website dedicated to images of COVID-19 related skin rashes: www.covidskinsigns.com. The new website includes over 400 images of the different types of related rashes. The most common are a hive-type rash (urticaria), ‘prickly heat’ or chickenpox-type rash (papular or vesicular rash) and COVID fingers and toes rash (chilblain-like).

The images were collected via the COVID Symptom Study app, which was launched by British health science company ZOE in March, to help scientists at King’s College London gather information from members of the public about the symptoms of COVID-19. It has since been downloaded by over four million people in the UK.

Early reports of rashes in hospitalised COVID-19 patients emerged from different parts of the world by late spring. As a result, rash as a symptom was added to the app to investigate further. This allowed the team who created the app to gather data about skin symptoms. App users were also invited to anonymously submit images of their rash to the COVID Symptom Study website. A total of 3,195 images were uploaded. A team of senior UK dermatologists reviewed all the images, classifying and curating them according to the different clinical types. Over 400 images were selected and are now available to view at www.covidskinsigns.com, which has been funded and created by the British Association of Dermatologists.

The research generated by the COVID Symptom Study app uncovered that 9% of swab-positive COVID-19 app users reported either a body rash or a rash on fingers or toes, suggesting that rashes are a key symptom of COVID. Rashes were twice as common in children as in adults. A new skin rash was a slightly better predictor of having a positive swab test than a fever or cough. According to the data, rashes may appear before, during or after the presence of other COVID symptoms and sometimes many weeks later. Importantly, rashes were the only sign of infection for 21% with a rash and a positive nasal swab.[*]

This new website is accessible to everyone to help doctors and the general public worldwide to identify whether an unusual rash may be a sign of COVID-19. The gallery will be updated as the research and understanding of COVID-19 related skin signs progresses.

Dr Tanya Bleiker, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, comments:

“The association between certain rashes and COVID-19 has become increasingly clear, and being able to recognise these is crucial for reducing the spread of the disease. We’re delighted to announce the launch of the COVID-19 skin signs image gallery, with the COVID Symptom Study team. The extensive library will be an invaluable resource for both healthcare professionals and members of the public in helping to identify rashes which may indicate COVID-19 infection, particularly in those who are otherwise asymptomatic.”

Veronique Bataille, Consultant Dermatologist, who led the COVID skin research, comments:

“We have created this COVID-19 rash gallery so that clinicians and any interested parties can have access to it and help them identify potential COVID-19 rashes. Our research shows that rashes can

be more predictive of COVID-19 than fever and cough, particularly in children. We found that one in six children gets a rash without any other classical symptoms. For most, COVID-19 rashes last for a few weeks and eventually disappear. In some cases, prescribed medication may be needed if the rash is very itchy.”

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, lead of the COVID Symptom app, comments:

“Thanks to our millions of app users we were quickly able to confirm the link between skin rashes and COVID-19 but also the timing of the rashes, their associations with other COVID-19 symptoms, as well as the different types of rashes across different age groups. We are extremely grateful to all app users who provided pictures via the app as without them none of this would have been possible. We have asked the government to add a new skin rash to the official NHS list of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as it will reduce infections and save lives.”

Dr Justine Kluk, Consultant Dermatologist, involved in the research and curating of images for the website, comments:

“A group of different skin rashes are now recognised as possible indicators of COVID-19 infection and may be the first or only symptom of the disease in some sufferers. Early reporting of these rashes by members of the public and increased awareness and recognition of them by frontline health workers could help us detect more cases and avoid further spread. This new atlas of COVID rashes, the first of its kind, is an important step forward in helping to raise awareness.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

For the communications team at the British Association of Dermatologists please contact: comms@bad.org.uk
For more information about the COVID Symptom Study or  request an interview with Professor Spector or Dr Bataille, please contact Eleanor Griffiths: +44 (0)7950 335916, eleanor@joinzoe.com
[*] Using data collected on a subset of 336,847 eligible UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app observed that 8.8% of the swab positive cases (total: 2,021 subjects) reported either a body rash or an acral (hands/feet) rash
Diagnostic value of skin manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection; https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.10.20150656v1
For more information about rashes and COVID visit; https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/skin-rash-covid
For more information about the COVID Symptom Study visit; covid.joinzoe.com/
For more information about the British Association of Dermatologists visit; www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk
To see the latest research on skin signs of COVID-19, visit the British Journal of Dermatology; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652133

About The COVID Symptom Study app

The COVID Symptom Study app is a not-for-profit initiative that was launched at the end of March 2020 to support vital COVID-19 research. The app was launched by health science company ZOE with scientific analysis provided by King’s College London. With 4 million contributors globally, the Study is the world’s largest ongoing study of COVID-19 and is led by ZOE Co-Founder and King’s

College Professor, Tim Spector. The team has published over 15 research papers since March, most notably in Nature Medicine.

To date the app has been funded by ZOE and generous donations from app contributors. On 19 August 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that it has awarded the COVID Symptom Study app £2million in funding. The funding was awarded to enable the app to continue collecting data from its 4million + users to facilitate hotspot detection and scale-up testing programmes with the ONS. The app provides unique insight on asymptomatic and symptomatic information across the UK with 1.2 million logging on a weekly basis.For more information on The COVID Symptom Study app visit covid.joinzoe.com.

About ZOE

ZOE is a health science company using data-driven research to tackle the world’s health issues. By using artificial intelligence combined with digital technologies like mobile phones, ZOE enables large-scale scientific studies to tackle issues like COVID-19, inflammation and the impact of nutrition on health.

Located in London and Boston, ZOE was founded by machine learning leader Jonathan Wolf and entrepreneur George Hadjigeorgiou along with Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London. ZOE has carried out the largest nutritional studies of their kind in the world, runs the COVID Symptom Study app with 4 million users around the world, and was named one of the Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Stars in 2019 for the company’s contribution to science enabled by technology and machine learning.

For more information on ZOE’s mission and science visit joinzoe.com. Find us on Instagram @ZOE.

About the British Association of Dermatologists

The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk

To contact our press office, please email comms@bad.org.uk      

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Audit highlights the impact of PPE and hand disinfection on the skin health of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Fifty nine per cent of healthcare workers seen in occupational skin disease clinics set up during the COVID-19 pandemic were found to be affected by irritant contact dermatitis, a type of eczema, according to research being presented at the Virtual Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists (September 2020).

Increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and frequent hand cleansing has led to a spike of skin irritation amongst healthcare workers around the world*, particularly those on the frontline of the pandemic. Members of the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy conducted an audit of 200 hospital-based healthcare workers attending clinics for those with occupational skin disease in the UK and Ireland to describe the features of occupational skin disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Repeated and frequent exposure to water, soap, and alcohol hand gel, and prolonged contact with PPE can cause dry skin, and what is known as irritant contact dermatitis. The skin may start to itch, become sore and red, and develop small blisters, painful cracks (fissures) and erosions (broken skin).

On average, the healthcare workers washed their hands with soap 22.8 times per day and used alcohol hand gel 22.7 times per day. Eighteen per cent of the healthcare workers required time off work as a result of occupational skin problems, representing a significant burden on the health service during an extremely difficult time.

The duration for which PPE is worn, frequency of handwashing and use of alcohol hand gel were found to have an impact on the time off work required. Longer duration of PPE wear during a shift, and more frequent handwashing tended to increase the amount of time off and using alcohol gel did not.

Almost all the skin problems affected the face and hands. The second most common diagnosis seen in the audit was acne, caused by the occlusive effects of prolonged mask wear and seen in 15 per cent of healthcare workers. Pressure injuries related to mask wear were seen in five per cent of subjects.

Dr Isha Narang, lead researcher of the study and registrar at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation, said:

“Wearing PPE for long periods can cause pressure and irritant effects on the skin and frequent handwashing with soap is drying; sometimes the effects can be bad enough to require time off work. As PPE and handwashing are essential methods of reducing the spread of COVID-19, it is important to provide healthcare workers with advice and support in managing their skin.”

Dr Harriet O’Neill, another lead researcher of the study and registrar at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation, said:

“For the face, protecting the skin with medical-grade silicon tape before donning tight-fitting masks, then rechecking the fit of the mask, may be helpful. Facial skin should be regularly moisturised when not at work. Where possible, regular breaks should be taken during shifts in which the PPE, such as masks, goggles and gloves, is removed to reduce the amount of contact time with the skin. We would also recommend that people dry their hands fully after washing by patting them dry, not rubbing them. Moisturisers (emollients) are an essential part of treating dermatitis and should be applied generously after handwashing and whenever the skin feels dry. In severe cases, or if an infection is suspected, further treatment from a GP or an Occupational Health doctor may be required.”

Holly Barber, a spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists, said:

“PPE and frequent handwashing are essential for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the resulting skin irritation can cause enormous problems at work. Many members of the public will also have been affected by frequent handwashing, but this audit does give an indication of the spectrum of the issue for healthcare workers.

“Hopefully, these occupational skin disease clinics and skin management resources, such as the guidelines written by the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy, will help healthcare professionals manage their skin through this difficult period.”

An update on occupational skin disease, written by the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy, is available here.

 

-Ends-

 

Notes to editors:

* The update on occupational skin disease by the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy states that a total of 97% of 542 front-line doctors and nurses in Hubei Province, China (77.4% response rate of 700 clinical staff surveyed) were reported to have developed problems of the skin of the face and/or hands.

If using this presentation, please ensure you mention that it was given at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Virtual Annual Conference.

The virtual conference will be held in September 2020, and is attended by approximately 1,500 UK and worldwide dermatologists and dermatology nurses.

For more information please contact:comms@bad.org.uk
Website:www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk

Study details:

“Occupational dermatoses during the COVID-19 pandemic: a multicentre audit in the U.K. and Ireland”
I. Narang,1 H. O'Neill,1 D.A. Buckley,2 T.A. Phillips,3 C. Bertram,4 G.A. Johnston,5 D. Thompson,6 T. Bleiker,1 N. Stone,7 J.E. Sansom,8 S. Abdul Ghaffar,9 M.M.U. Chowdhury,10 L. Kiely,11 S.M. Cooper12 and P. Banerjee13

1University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation, Derby, U.K.; 2Circle Hospital, Bath, U.K.; 3Department of Statistics, University of Warwick, Coventry, U.K.; 4Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K.; 5Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, U.K.; 6Birmingham Skin Centre, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, U.K.; 7Aneurin Bevan University Healthboard, Newport, U.K.; 8Bristol Dermatology Centre, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, U.K.; 9Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, U.K.; 10The Welsh Institute of Dermatology, The University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, U.K.; 11Cork University Hospital and South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork, Ireland; 12Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, U.K.; and 13University Hospital Lewisham, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, London, U.K.

About the British Association of Dermatologists

The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk  

The British Association of Dermatologists publishes two world-renowned dermatology journals, both published by Wiley. The British Journal of Dermatology is one of the top dermatology journals in the world, and publishes papers on all aspects of the biology and pathology of the skin. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2133  

 

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Dermatologists warn against the use of private unvalidated food allergy tests

Individuals do not need to pay for private tests online as allergy testing is available on the NHS

Private food allergy tests may be causing people to follow unnecessary and potentially dangerous dietary restrictions, according to two studies being presented at the Virtual Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists (September 2020).

The studies show that many companies are not using laboratories with the relevant international accreditation for testing, and that the type of tests being used often lack scientific evidence* to support their use.

This means that the results provided to users may not be accurate and may lead to false representations of an individual’s allergy and intolerance status.

The growing interest around food allergies, and the rise of online shopping, has led to a boom in the number of private food allergy and intolerance tests available. Patients with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are understandably keen to understand their personal triggers to help get their condition under control. Particularly in the case of younger children, parents often ask whether certain foods could be causing their child’s eczema to flare.

Researchers of the first study identified 18 brands of online allergy tests and evaluated their quality based on whether the samples are tested in ISO15189-accredited laboratories and the type of test conducted.

ISO15189 accreditation is an international standard for medical testing and calibration laboratories, to demonstrate the quality and reliability of their services. Overall, only one of the 18 companies were found to use an ISO15189-accredited laboratory.

Seventy per cent of these brands perform only IgG testing for food intolerance, which has no scientific evidence to support its validity. Six companies also use an unproven ‘bioresonance’ test of hair samples to identify potential intolerances. As well as this, only one company requested the patient’s clinical history and had the test results reviewed by a physician.

Researchers of the second study identified seven common types of allergy tests that are available online. All but one of these techniques are not scientifically proven methods.

Dr Alice Plant, Dermatology Specialist Registrar at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and researcher of one of the studies, said:

“Allergy test results require careful interpretation in the context of the patient’s clinical history by a skilled professional for them to be meaningful. Poorly informed health consumers are vulnerable to be misled about their allergy and intolerance status.

“There is a lack of evidence to suggest that certain foods trigger eczema, and we would encourage people to continue with their topical treatments as prescribed by their doctor rather than eliminating foods from their diet without first discussing this with a medical professional. In children with sensitivities, unnecessary dietary exclusions may actually cause a true allergy to develop.”

Holly Barber, spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists, said:

“It’s concerning to learn that several of the allergy tests available to purchase online may be unreliable. We would encourage anybody who suspects they have an allergy to visit their GP rather than seeking out tests online as allergy testing is available on the NHS. There is therefore no need for families or individuals to spend money on private tests with varying levels of quality.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

*The British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI) published information on the evidence for commonly available alternative tests and the use of specific IgE to screen for food allergy in the context of eczema as part of the Choose Wisely campaign to help patients to make informed choices based on the evidence available. You can find this information here.

If using this presentation, please ensure you mention that it was given at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference.

The virtual conference will be held in September 2020, and is attended by approximately 1,500 UK and worldwide dermatologists and dermatology nurses.

For more information please contact: comms@bad.org.uk
Website: www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk

Study details:

“Online allergy testing: enlightening and empowering or confusing and exploitative?”

A.W.Y. Wong, H.E.G. White and A. Shipman

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth, U.K.

“The rise of restrictive eating: commercial food allergy testing and its relevance to the dermatologist”

A. Plant, A. Livesey and A. Shipman

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth, U.K.

About the British Association of Dermatologists

The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk

The British Association of Dermatologists publishes two world-renowned dermatology journals, both published by Wiley. The British Journal of Dermatology is one of the top dermatology journals in the world, and publishes papers on all aspects of the biology and pathology of the skin. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2133  

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