Chronic Hand Eczema: Perception and Knowledge in Non-affected Individuals from General and Dermatological Practice
Valerie Letulé, Thomas Herzinger, Astrid Schirner, Frank Hertrich, Dirk Lange, Thomas Ruzicka, Sonja Molin
Misunderstanding and stigmatisation are common problems encountered by patients with hand eczema. Various misconceptions about the disease circulate in the general population. Although hand eczema has gained more attention in dermatology during the past years, information on public perception of the disease is still lacking. The aim of our study was to investigate perception of and level of knowledge on the subject hand eczema. There were 624 patients included from 2 general medicine practices and 2 dermatological practices. A self-administered questionnaire was filled out by the participants, covering issues on history of hand eczema, level of knowledge and attitude towards a clinical photograph of hand eczema. We found that a larger proportion of individuals from dermatological practice were more familiar with hand eczema as a disease than those from general medical practice. Women knew significantly more about and had a more positive perception of the disease than men. Our results imply that the level of knowledge on hand eczema in the general public is rather low and influenced by prejudice.