The prevalence of common skin conditions in Australian school students: 2. Atopic dermatitis

Robin Marks, Monique Femia Kilkenny, Anne Plunkett, Kate Merlin

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The prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD) was recorded following examination by dermatologists anddermatology registrars of a random sample of 2491 school students throughout the State of Victoria,Australia. The overall prevalence, based on clinical examination, was 16?3 (95 confidenceinterval, CI 14?1?18?5), being higher in girls (17?7 ; 95 CI 15?0?20?4) than boys (14?8 ; 95 CI 11?8?17?8). Using the U.K. Working Party Diagnostic Criteria for AD reduced the prevalence to10?8 (95 CI 9?3?12?3) with the prevalence in girls 12?3 (95 CI 10?1?14?4) and in boys 9?2 (95 CI 7?1?11?4). The prevalence was highest in 4?6 year olds (18?7 on clinical examination,11?5 using the U.K. Working Party Criteria), decreasing with increasing age to 11?6 on clinicalexamination (8?6 on U.K. Working Party Criteria) among 16?18 year olds. Most of those with ADwere classified as having mild disease (54?1 ), with 32?1 classified as having minimal and 13?8 as having moderate to severe disease. Over 80 of those who reported on the questionnaire that theyhad dermatitis that was then confirmed on examination had been using one or more products totreat it. Nearly 90 of these products were classified as efficacious, with medical practitioners beingthe major source of advice for their use (77 ). Pharmacists (8 ), family/friends (6 ) and others(9 ), including beauticians and naturopaths, made up the remainder of the persons from whomthose affected had sought advice about their treatment. These data, the first community-basedprevalence data on AD published from Australia, confirm that the condition is common among thoseof school age. There is a need for AD to be included among those conditions that are discussed inhealth education lessons in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468 - 473
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

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