Irish Skin Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on everyone, but for many people living with skin conditions it has caused additional problems. Since the initial phase of public health restrictions in March 2020, the ISF recorded a significant spike in the number of people contacting the Ask-a-Nurse Helpline.
Throughout the pandemic, many hospital-based dermatology clinics have been facilitating face-to-face consultations for urgent cases and conducting all other appointments by phone or video call. Faced with barriers accessing secondary care, while spending more time on laptops and computers working from home, people are finding the ISF website and resources primarily through online searches which doubled in the last year.
When compared with 2019, the number of queries from people with no diagnosis increased significantly, with feedback from users of the Ask-a-Nurse Helpline often expressing a reluctance to visit a GP during the pandemic. The number of queries regarding eczema, dermatitis and acne increased, illustrating the rising incidence of hand dermatitis resulting from excessive handwashing and breakouts on the face due to prolonged wearing of face masks.
ISF Clinical Helpline Manager, Carmel Blake commented, “In 2020, the ISF experienced a massive 55% increase in queries to our Ask-a-Nurse Helpline when compared to 2019 figures, showing the increased demand for this unique service. We are very fortunate to have the expertise of our dermatology nurse specialists, who all work in hospital dermatology units throughout Ireland, to help bridge the gap for people struggling to manage their skin condition during a time when public health services have been restricted.”
ISF CEO, David McMahon said, “We would particularly like to thank our Foundation Partners, AbbVie, LEO Pharma, Novartis, Sanofi, UCB and Amgen, for their generous support, without which it would not be possible to provide access to this valuable and much-needed service to support all those affected by skin conditions in Ireland.”