Groundbreaking author calls for action on eczema

The author of a groundbreaking book on eczema is calling for urgent action over what he calls the "neglected" disease of children.

Dr Joe Williams is calling for more research to be undertaken into the “neglected” disease. Source: 1 NEWS

Dr Joe Williams estimates he has treated more than 25,000 patients in the last five years.

"There is still no universally accepted treatment option for eczema. The one that I know of that works is the one that we use," he says.

It includes advice on foods to avoid, including tomato sauce, chips and salty noodles. Over the counter moisturisers are recommended and a cream combining topical steroid and anti-fungal treatments is prescribed.

Patients who've suffered years of misery and tried numerous creams say it works.

"My self esteem has gone up, so I feel much better," says one man.

Dr Williams' treatment plan - outlined in his book he launches tomorrow - hasn't been without controversy. Last year the Medical Council warned him about the overuse of steroid cream, but peer reviews have been positive.

"It's been the most consistently successful treatment for eczema over the years," says Dr Sitaleki Finau, Pacific Health Dialog Journal Editor.

Dr Williams says the "Government needs to have a look at that - subsidise those that are working and not subsidise the ones that are not working."

He's calling for more research and is supported by Allergy New Zealand. It says recent studies show up to one in three infants have eczema by the age of one, and there's a striking association between the disease and mental health disorders.

Saupo Toomata is at her wits end. After years trying to rid her granddaughter of eczema, Dr Williams is her last hope. She says her cousin took her son to him, "And the eczema is gone".