BACKGROUND: Atopic eczema (AE) is a common relapsing inflammatory skin disease in children which is often associated with chronicity and poor quality of life. Unlike atopic asthma, control of AE is seldom assessed in therapeutics.
AIM: To investigate the utility of a Traffic Light Control (TLC) system as a measurement/assessment of self-perceived eczema control.
METHODS: This is a prospectively study of all Chinese children (aged 6 to 18 years old) with eczema attending the paediatric dermatology clinic of a tertiary hospital from Jan to June 2020. Eczema control, eczema severity, quality of life and biophysical skin condition of consecutive patients at the paediatric dermatology clinic of a teaching hospital were evaluated with the validated Chinese versions of Depressive, Anxiety, Stress Scales (DASS-21), Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM), transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and stratum corneum skin hydration (SH), respectively. With a visual TLC analogy, patients were asked if their eczema is under control (green light), worsening (yellow) or in flare-up (red light).
RESULTS: Among AE patients (n = 36), self-perceived TLC as green (under control), amber (worsening) and red (flare up) reflected acute and chronic severity (SCORAD, NESS, POEM) and quality of life (CDLQI) (p< 0.0001), but not SH, TEWL or Depression, anxiety and stress.
CONCLUSIONS: Eczema control can be semi-quantified with a child-friendly TLC self-assessment system. AE patients reporting worse eczema control have worse acute and chronic eczema severity, more impairment of quality of life; but not the psychologic symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress or skin hydration or transepidermal water loss. TLC can be linked to an eczema action plan to guide patient management.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.