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Are bath additives the right treatment for children with eczema?

6 February 2015

CAPC researchers are working with researchers from the universities of Southampton and Cardiff to find out if bath additives are effective treatments for childhood eczema.

Over 400 children in primary care are being recruited to take part in a study which aims to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of using bath emollients for childhood eczema.

Children with eczema are advised to regularly use emollients (non-cosmetic moisturisers that are left on the skin). Some doctors and nurses also recommend using emollient products that are added to the bath, but there is no evidence to suggest if these actually help, and it is possible they can cause harm such as skin irritation or accidents through making the bath slippery.

Recruitment for the new BATHE (Bath Additives for the Treatment of cHildhood Eczema) study, which is funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA) at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), began in November 2014 and aims to address this question.

The study will run at the Universities of Southampton, Cardiff and Bristol, with support from the Centre for Evidence Based Dermatology at the University of Nottingham.

The children taking part will either receive usual care for eczema with bath emollient, or usual care for eczema without bath emollient. Parents or carers from both treatment groups will then be asked to complete questionnaires for a year to find out how their child's eczema progresses.

Kate Martinson from the University of Southampton, who is managing the trial, said: “We are all aware of the advice that’s commonly given to children with eczema to use emollients in the bath, but there is no evidence to say whether this is actually helping.

“We hope that by undertaking this study with partner Universities we will be able to determine whether this is the correct advice and pass that information on to the medical profession, and to parents, to help them make the right choice in helping children with the condition.”

Further information can be found on the website here.

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