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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jane Kirby

Children with eczema ‘should not be offered bath emollients on the NHS’

Children with eczema should not be offered bath emollients on the NHS, according to new guidance.

Watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said it had reviewed the evidence and concluded that bath emollients are not clinically or cost effective.

Nice’s committee looked at evidence from the year-long Bathe trial in 2018, which found that pouring emollient additives into the bath provided no additional benefit over standard eczema care.

Nice said that while emollient bath additives do not make eczema worse, prescribing an “ineffective” product places “unnecessary burdens” on patients and carers in terms of obtaining and using the products.

However, it said some children may benefit from bath emollients and these can still be bought over the counter if people want them.

Nice’s guidance states that children can and should continue to use emollients and/or emollient wash products instead of soaps.

The new Nice draft guideline – on the diagnosis and management of atopic eczema in children under 12 – is now subject to public consultation.

Nice said the guidance brings it into line with NHS England’s advice in 2019 that emollient bath additives should not be routinely prescribed.

Eczema, which causes red and itchy skin, affects around one in five children and can result in regular flare-ups or can be a continuous problem.

The Bathe trial included 482 children from 96 GP surgeries.

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