Objective: To evaluate the impact of childhood atopic eczema on families and assess the personal financial cost of its management.
Design: Cross sectional survey.
Setting: Paediatric dermatology and paediatric diabetology outpatient clinics.
Patients: Parents of 48 randomly selected children with atopic eczema and 46 with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Main outcome measures: The impact on family score, the reported cost of relevant medical treatments, medical consultations, relevant hospitalisation, and income loss.
Results: Families of children with moderate or severe atopic eczema had a significantly higher impact on family score than families of diabetic children. A conservative estimate of the annual personal financial cost of managing mild, moderate, and severe eczema was Aus$330, 818, and 1255, respectively. The financial cost to the community for the management of atopic eczema in the study groups was greater. The personal financial cost of managing eczema was greater than for asthma.
Conclusion: Childhood atopic eczema has a profound impact on the social, personal, emotional, and financial perspectives of families.