Monkeypox is a rare infection that appears on the skin as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs, which later fall off. The skin symptoms of monkeypox have the potential to be confused with infected eczema, particularly eczema herpeticum, which is a serious viral herpes infection. For more information on the other symptoms of monkeypox, which appear before the skin symptoms, please see the NHS website. For more information on eczema herpeticum, please see this page.

Children and adolescents with a history or presence of atopic eczema are at risk of more severe monkeypox. If you suspect that you or your child has monkeypox – or eczema herpeticum – please seek immediate same day medical advice.

Monkeypox vaccine (MVA-BN) and cautions for people with eczema

The vaccine recommended to protect against monkeypox is a third generation Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vaccine, which was first developed in the 1950s for the prevention of smallpox. See the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) website for more information. For most people, the monkeypox vaccine has a favourable safety profile.

People with atopic eczema, though, may be more likely to experience certain side effects from the vaccine. These include more intense local skin reactions (such as the skin becoming red or darker than usual, depending on skin tone, swelling and itching) and other general symptoms (such as headache, muscle pain, feeling sick or tired), as well as a flare-up or worsening of their eczema. In rare cases, people with atopic eczema have experienced serious reactions to the vaccine with widespread infection of the skin.

National Eczema Society and the UKHSA recommend that people with atopic eczema seek a risk assessment before taking the vaccine in order to balance the risk from exposure to monkeypox and the risk of possible side effects from vaccination.

The MVA vaccine is currently being offered to people in the UK at high risk of exposure to monkeypox. Note there have been challenges reported in obtaining sufficient supplies of the vaccine (as of August 2022). The UKHSA recommends MVA is offered to:

  • healthcare workers caring for patients with confirmed or suspected monkeypox
  • men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men, and who have multiple partners, participate in group sex or attend sex on premises venues. Staff who work in these premises may also be eligible
  • people who have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox – ideally they should have the vaccine within 4 days of contact, but it can be given up to 14 days after.

References

Tuesday 13 September, 6:00 – 6:45pm

Register for the webinar here.

In this webinar, Dr Paula Beattie will talk about how topical steroids can be used safely and effectively to manage eczema inflammation. She will also address concerns over the safety of topical steroids, including topical steroid withdrawal.

Dr Beattie is a Consultant Dermatologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, and a member of National Eczema Society’s Medical Advisory Board.

Thursday 15 September, 4:30-5:30pm

Register for the webinar here.

National Eczema Society and St John’s DermAcademy are pleased to collaborate to bring you this free webinar of informative talks from experts at the forefront of eczema research and practice. In this webinar, dermatology experts will explore allergy and eczema, and how to help children break the eczema itch-scratch cycle using the habit reversal technique. There will be time after the talks for you to ask questions of the panel.

4:30pm Welcome and overview of the evening
Professor Carsten Flohr

4.35pm Fact-checking allergy myths
Dr Tom Marrs

4.50pm How children can break the eczema itch-scratch cycle using the habit reversal technique
Dr Susannah Baron

5:05pm Question and answer session with a panel including webinar speakers, plus Rukshana Ali, Maria Akinde, Sarah Guard, and Andrew Proctor, Chief Executive of National Eczema Society. Participants are encouraged to ask questions on the topics being presented, as well as other areas of eczema care.

5.30pm Close

Webinar speakers and panel

Professor Carsten Flohr

Professor Carsten Flohr
St John’s Institute of Dermatology
Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London

Professor Flohr studied at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and then trained in both paediatrics and dermatology.

He was the first UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinician Scientist in Dermatology (2009-2014) and the only dermatologist awarded a Career Development Fellowship from the NIHR (2014-2019).

Professor Flohr directs the Unit for Population-Based Dermatology Research at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London, where he holds the Chair in Dermatology and Population Health Science.

He has a particular interest in novel methods of atopic dermatitis (AD) prevention (early life risk factors) and therapeutics, especially in severe AD.

He is Chief Investigator of the UK-Irish TREatment of severe eczema in children Trial (TREAT), which compares cyclosporine with methotrexate in children with recalcitrant atopic eczema. He is also Chief Investigator of the Softened water for eczema prevention trial (SOFTER), the UK-Irish Atopic Eczema Systemic Therapy Register (A-STAR), and the EU-funded TRANS-FOODS consortium.

Professor Flohr is a Founding Director of the International Eczema Council and Past President of the British Society of Paediatric Dermatology.

He leads the European treatment guideline for atopic eczema.

He is also Founding Editor of the Evidence-Based Dermatology Section of the British Journal of Dermatology and the Clinical Trials Editor of the F1000 Atopic Dermatitis Section.

Dr Tom Marrs

Dr Tom Marrs
Consultant in Paediatric Allergy, St Thomas’ Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Director of the Allergy Academy, King’s College London
Senior Honorary Lecturer in Paediatric Allergy, School of Immunobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London

Dr Marrs is a Consultant in Paediatric Allergy working in the Children’s Allergies Department at St Thomas’ Hospital. He read Medicine, Psychology and Medical Law at Clare College Cambridge, before completing his clinical training at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Medical School.

Dr Marrs joined King’s College London as part of the team running the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) Study. This randomised trial showed that the regular consumption of peanut and egg by infants can prevent the development of peanut and egg allergy. He continued his clinical research as a Clinical Lecturer at King’s College London to investigate how the microbiome and lifestyle factors such as bathing and pet ownership may influence the development of allergic disease.

As a Consultant in Paediatric Allergy as St Thomas’ Hospital, Dr Marrs leads the Peanut Introduction Service as well as the Joint Allergy Gastroenterology service. He is Director of the Allergy Academy from within King’s College London, which is the largest post-graduate institute for post-graduate allergy teaching in the UK.


Dr Susannah Baron

Dr Susannah Baron
Consultant Dermatologist, St John’s Institute of Dermatology
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Baron is a Consultant Dermatologist working at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology. She specialises in Paediatric Dermatology and has established a multi-disciplinary paediatric psychodermatology service at St Thomas’ Hospital where together with a Clinical Psychologist she manages children with psychological distress associated with their skin disease and psychological disorders presenting with skin signs.

Dr Baron’s other field of expertise is in the management of severe eczema in children where she manages the psycho-social impact on children and families alongside the severe eczema. She is involved in population-based research and clinical trials in severe eczema and current ongoing studies are using the newer biologic agents and research exploring the interaction between mind and skin is in the early stages.

Dr Baron is current Chair of Psychodermatology UK and Treasurer of the British Society of Paediatric Dermatology.

Panel

Dr Rukshana Ali

Dr Rukshana Ali
Clinical Psychologist, St John’s Institute of Dermatology
Senior Psychologist, Evelina Children’s Hospital
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Ali is the Clinical Psychologist within the Paediatric Dermatology team at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology. She is also a senior Psychologist within the Evelina Children’s Hospital and leads the Evelina Trauma Service. She qualified with her doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) from Royal Holloway, University of London and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.


Dr Ali has extensive experience in working with long term health conditions with children and adults. She has contributed to research, publications and conference presentations concerning the role of psychology and psychological wellbeing in dermatology, weight management, surgery and bariatric surgery. She has a specialist interest in psychodermatology and the psychological wellbeing of people living with skin conditions. She currently sits on the Psychodermatology UK executive committee.

Maria Akinde

Maria Akinde
Paediatric Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist
St John’s Institute of Dermatology

Maria Akinde is a paediatric dermatology clinical nurse specialist in St John’s Institute of Dermatology at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital. She completed her undergraduate nurse training at King’s College London where she obtained a BSc in Adult Nursing. She has 10 years of experience in dermatology, providing a range of specialist dermatology care to adult, adolescent and paediatric populations. She runs nurse led clinics for paediatric and adolescent patients living with chronic conditions, incorporating a holistic, patient/family orientated and practical approach to management regimes that are achievable and facilitate age-appropriate self-management, where possible. Maria is experienced in the use of systemic and biologic therapies for paediatric and young patients with eczema, psoriasis, HS amongst others and is also involved in the paediatric severe eczema and psoriasis clinic. She plays a key role in communicating between families and multi-disciplinary teams for patients with complex medical, social and psychological needs. Maria was nominated by her colleagues for the GSTT Staff Nurse of the Year in 2016 and twice for the RCN’s rising star award in 2020 and 2021.

Sarah Guard

Sarah Guard MPharm (Hons) PG Dip GPP
Independent Pharmacist Prescriber
Highly Specialist Clinical Pharmacist – Dermatology and Allergy
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Sarah is a highly specialist clinical pharmacist in dermatology and allergy. Her areas of expertise include pharmaceutical management of severe psoriasis and eczema, non-medical prescribing (prescribing of biologics in psoriasis), medicines management, medicines information in dermatology and allergy, commissioning and funding requests.

This event is organised by the West Surrey and NE Hants Support Group.

When?

2:00pm, Saturday 26 March 2022

Where?

The Pavilion
Woodbridge Road
Guildford
GU1 4RP

Speaker:

Dr George Moncrieff, General Practitioner and Past Chair of the Dermatology Council for England, will give a short presentation followed by questions and answers.

Admission free; donations welcome! No booking needed – just turn up on the day.

Phone 01483 827668 or 01483 567668 for directions if required.

Update, January 2022

On Tuesday 25 January at 4:30pm there will be a Westminster Hall debate on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS) report on Mental Health and Skin Conditions published in 2020. The debate is only open to MPs and visits to the House are currently suspended, but it will be available to watch on Parliament TV: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/.

23 September 2020

National Eczema Society was very pleased to see the publication of a major new report on mental health and skin disease, produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS).

This looks at the mental health support available to people with skin conditions in the UK and the psychological impact of living with these conditions. It provides evidence of the urgent need for more and better services to support people with the mental health impact of skin conditions like eczema, which can be so debilitating.

Almost all the patients (98%) who took part in an APPGS survey earlier this year said their condition affects their emotional and psychological wellbeing. Five per cent reported having suicidal thoughts. Over half of the patients surveyed did not realise specialised support was available for people with skin conditions, in the form of psychodermatology.

National Eczema Society contributed to this important report and helped promote the patient survey. Thank you to everyone who took part and a number of powerful anonymised quotes from people with eczema are included in the report. Our wonderful patient advocate, Shal Henry-Treloar, spoke about her family’s experience of eczema and her own challenges at an APPGS evidence-gathering event in Westminster in March.

This APPGS report reinforces many of the findings of the Society’s own Eczema Unmasked survey, which we promoted during National Eczema Week. This also highlighted the mental health impacts of living with eczema and the lack of access to emotional and psychological support services.

The full APPGS report is here.

Julie Van Onselen, Dermatology Nurse Adviser to National Eczema Society, introduces the concept of an eczema toolkit

Need advice on coping with one or more aspects of living with eczema? Have a rummage in our toolkit to find information on flare-ups, itch, sleep, relationships, parenting and more…

Eczema basics

Whether you’ve had eczema all your life or you were recently diagnosed – or you have a baby, child or teen with eczema – it can be helpful to get to grips with or revisit the basics, to make sure you’re using your treatments in the most effective way and reducing exposure to triggers where possible.

To find out how to use eczema treatments, reduce exposure to common triggers and manage flare-ups, take a look at the following pages:

Factsheets (for factsheets on Emollients and Topical steroids, and common triggers in the home – Household irritants)

Itching and scratching

Managing flare-ups

Eczema and relationships

If you or your partner has eczema, your relationship can come under pressure as a result. It’s important to be as open, honest and direct as possible, while staying sensitive to each other’s needs.

To give you more confidence in navigating the tricky realm of romantic relationships, please see our Relationships and eczema page.

Eczema and sleep disturbance

If you or your child has eczema, it’s likely that you or they will at some point have disturbed sleep. Waking in the night can lead to a relentless succession of broken nights over weeks or months, leaving you and your child exhausted and irritable.

To help you create the most eczema-friendly sleep environment and maximise your chances of a restful night, take a look at our Sleep and eczema page.

Eczema and school

Managing eczema at school can be daunting. The school environment has the potential to throw up many challenges: triggers, finding time and space to apply creams, self-consciousness and even bullying.

For tips on managing eczema in primary and secondary school, and on building relationships with teachers and other school staff, check out our Eczema and school page (aimed at parents/carers and school staff).

Eczema and mental health

Eczema can affect your mental and emotional wellbeing in a variety of ways. It might affect how you feel, or your mood. It might make you feel down or fed-up, and that might – but not necessarily – include depression. It can also lead to feeling stressed, worried or anxious, and impact upon your self-esteem and body image.

For advice on coping with the psychological aspects of eczema, please see our Mind-body connection page.

Eczema and stress

Stress is our natural response to feeling threatened or under pressure. Many people report that stress makes their eczema worse and increases the itch, and there may be both physical and psychological reasons for this.

For tips on managing stress, please check out our Stress and eczema page.

Information for parents/carers

Eczema affects 20% of children in the UK and around 1 in 20 have severe disease. Uncontrolled eczema has a huge impact on a child’s quality of life.

To help you support your baby, child or teenager with eczema, we have advice and resources on the following pages:

Babies and eczema

Children and eczema

Teenagers and eczema

Need further information?

Please contact our Helpline by email at helpline@eczema.org, or call us on 0800 448 0818 (Monday to Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, apart from Bank Holidays).