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    Hi everyone,

    I'm lucky enough to, after two gap years, have four offers to study Veterinary Medicine. I'm obviously very excited to start the course, but one of my main worries is how I'm going to keep my eczema under control.

    My eczema is concentrated on the back of my hands, and in the inside of my wrists/lower arms. It seems aggravated when on work experience placements, which I think is an effect of frequent exposure to dirt, lots of soap contact, and lack of opportunities to moisturise. I intend to cope by bringing my own soap substitutes and emollient creams to EMS placements.

    What I'm especially worried about is the clinical years of the course, and having to scrub in for surgery, exposure to different disinfectants, etc. I know from working as an animal nursing assistant that chlorhexidine is especially irritating on my wrists, so I'd imagine I'd need to use a substitute. From researching on the Internet and reading the stories of medical surgeons with eczema, I know there must be alternatives available. I worry about how accommodating the university would be.

    How should I go about talking to my chosen university about it? I know they send out occupational health forms nearer to the time of starting, but I'm wondering if I should email them now about it.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd be really grateful to hear some insights. I can't imagine I'd be the first veterinary student in the UK to struggle with eczema(!).
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    Hi, I have bad eczema on my arms and legs, as do my family. What usually sets it off is high levels of stress, or an allergic reaction to something. I noticed that you said it's on your hands, and due to the nature of your job, have you considered that you might be allergic to latex?? In which case you can get latex free gloves to help assist you whilst working.
    There's this miracle cream that you can get in Boots called 'aveeno' it's an American product, but there's something about it missing an ingredient that is in all other creams, that makes it more effective. It works quickly overnight, and apply it whenever your skin is feeling dry. Other than that, have you considered hand cream??
    Hope this helps and good luck!!
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    (Original post by Filenamelost)
    Hi, I have bad eczema on my arms and legs, as do my family. What usually sets it off is high levels of stress, or an allergic reaction to something. I noticed that you said it's on your hands, and due to the nature of your job, have you considered that you might be allergic to latex?? In which case you can get latex free gloves to help assist you whilst working.
    There's this miracle cream that you can get in Boots called 'aveeno' it's an American product, but there's something about it missing an ingredient that is in all other creams, that makes it more effective. It works quickly overnight, and apply it whenever your skin is feeling dry. Other than that, have you considered hand cream??
    Hope this helps and good luck!!
    Hi, I appreciate your advice but I've tried everything on the planet for my hands. I just posted this thread looking for vet school specific advice.

    I've had eczema all my life. I already can't leave the house without hand cream, and I have to use emollient cream on prescription. I'm reluctant to use the toilet sometimes as washing my hands hurts so much. I have to use expensive SLS-free shampoo as anything with SLS will hurt my hands. I can't even use perfumed hand creams anymore and can only use parrafin-based emollients.
    No success with Aveeno; I find it's not thick enough. To be honest I'm a bit suspicious of every 'miracle' cure as I've tried so many, from coconut oil to linseed oil capsule supplements!

    My question is just specific to how vet students deal with eczema in those sorts of environments. I don't think I'm allergic to latex as I no longer work there and still have chronic eczema, but I'm looking into having an allergy test done to determine if it's allergy based.

    Thank you for your reply; I hope your eczema is not too bad now, and I'm happy to hear you've found something that works for you.
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    (Original post by afeatherofabird)
    Hi everyone,

    I'm lucky enough to, after two gap years, have four offers to study Veterinary Medicine. I'm obviously very excited to start the course, but one of my main worries is how I'm going to keep my eczema under control.

    My eczema is concentrated on the back of my hands, and in the inside of my wrists/lower arms. It seems aggravated when on work experience placements, which I think is an effect of frequent exposure to dirt, lots of soap contact, and lack of opportunities to moisturise. I intend to cope by bringing my own soap substitutes and emollient creams to EMS placements.

    What I'm especially worried about is the clinical years of the course, and having to scrub in for surgery, exposure to different disinfectants, etc. I know from working as an animal nursing assistant that chlorhexidine is especially irritating on my wrists, so I'd imagine I'd need to use a substitute. From researching on the Internet and reading the stories of medical surgeons with eczema, I know there must be alternatives available. I worry about how accommodating the university would be.

    How should I go about talking to my chosen university about it? I know they send out occupational health forms nearer to the time of starting, but I'm wondering if I should email them now about it.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd be really grateful to hear some insights. I can't imagine I'd be the first veterinary student in the UK to struggle with eczema(!).
    Vets who are allergic to chlorhex normally scrub in with iodine and there is also a chlorhex like alternate just without the chlorhex which some practices which invest in if you ask them prior. A vet I worked with was allergic to chlor hex and never had a problem with the iodine, but it might be worth giving iodine a go just to check tht you are ok with tht. Hope you sort it and well done for getting into vet school
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    It sounds like you can identify what makes your eczema worse which is a good step in helping you figure out what might help you.

    You can avoid dirt by wearing gloves most of the time. At vet school we are required to wear gloves when handling farm animals for biosecurity reasons but it would protect your hands too. Certain types of gloves might be better for your skin. No one would object you wearing gloves on EMS/vet school if you need to and it helps.

    As for your lack of opportunities to moisturise it looks like you would need to keep a small bottle/container of moisturiser on you in your pocket at all times. In the small animal hospital I wound wear a 'nurses pouch' (or as some people call them fanny packs) so I could carry everything I needed on a daily basis as my scrub top pockets were too small. You should be able to fit something like that in a waterproof farm top/boiler suit and whatever you might wear around horses.

    On EMS placements I would often taken in my own soap anyways as I have allergies. If you need to do this than you should do.

    As a vet and vet student you will need to disinfect your hands and wash them regularly. Both Hibi, Iodine, and alcohol sprays/gels will dry your hands out. At Liverpool you can avoid Hibi when scrubbing in - the alternative is washing with a Bacto-something soap (non fragrance, gentle soap for those will allergies) followed by Sterilium which actually moisurises your hands and eliminates the need for scrubbing your skin with a brush completely (you need to apply it in a certain way though: http://imseuro.co.uk/media/catalog/c...erillium_3.jpg ). Sterlium also produce small containers which you can carry with you for disinfecting your hands (an alternative to alcohol gel) but is not cheap. When you work in practice it would not be unreasonable to ask your employer to buy whatever product suits your skin best. Sterlium is not available in most practices whilst you go on EMS which might be more difficult for you - either you manage with iodine (available in most practices) or bring your own suitable disinfectant.

    I would not worry about telling your vet school until you get there. You won't be the only one with skin problems they've had, don't worry! Once you get there perhaps contact your tutor to ask who might be able to help you if you're concerned. To be honest, it sounds like a lot of things you can do on your own (e.g. bring you own moisturiser/creams) and if you can't use Hibi I would simply tell the staff before your scrub in (they will have some sort of alternative) rather than emailing occupational health.

    P.S. I don't have eczema myself (only allergies to some products) but know people with skin problems
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    Have a word with your university, they have an obligation to you under Occupational Health guidelines. Sometimes they need to be reminded of that fact! It is just about finding the right member of staff (eg; head nurse, senior theatre nurse) who can order you in an equivalent handwash or surgical scrub.

    I used Dermastel (Triclosan + Moisturiser) for a couple of years and never had any issues.

    Currently I use Sterilium for my surgical scrub. It is alcohol based but I have never had any issues with it drying out my hands, even when performing 10-15 surgeries a day.
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    Just mentioning something silverstarDJ has said about carrying a small hand cream.... OP, you said you get prescription emollients? I'm assuming this is something like diprobase or similar and you can ask for a small 50g tube in addition to what you normally get which is great to carry around in your bag or in your pocket doing WEX or in a vets
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    (Original post by afeatherofabird)
    Hi everyone,

    I'm lucky enough to, after two gap years, have four offers to study Veterinary Medicine. I'm obviously very excited to start the course, but one of my main worries is how I'm going to keep my eczema under control.

    My eczema is concentrated on the back of my hands, and in the inside of my wrists/lower arms. It seems aggravated when on work experience placements, which I think is an effect of frequent exposure to dirt, lots of soap contact, and lack of opportunities to moisturise. I intend to cope by bringing my own soap substitutes and emollient creams to EMS placements.

    What I'm especially worried about is the clinical years of the course, and having to scrub in for surgery, exposure to different disinfectants, etc. I know from working as an animal nursing assistant that chlorhexidine is especially irritating on my wrists, so I'd imagine I'd need to use a substitute. From researching on the Internet and reading the stories of medical surgeons with eczema, I know there must be alternatives available. I worry about how accommodating the university would be.

    How should I go about talking to my chosen university about it? I know they send out occupational health forms nearer to the time of starting, but I'm wondering if I should email them now about it.

    If anyone has any experience with this, I'd be really grateful to hear some insights. I can't imagine I'd be the first veterinary student in the UK to struggle with eczema(!).
    In terms of telling the uni, many vet schools will send out an occupational health questionnaire and any conditions you put on there will be noted and followed up.
    I know it seems like basic advice, but moisturise as much as you can, particularly during the day. Also, you can wear gloves in practicals and often the type of glove you wear can help; my doctor told me that the blue nitrile ones are much more breathable than the clear (i think latex) ones
 
 
 
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