Methods: A questionnaire survey about the course, etiology and management of AD was conducted for patients and caregivers who visited Department of Dermatology at Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Results: A total of 177 subjects participated in the study. A few subjects understood natural course of AD. Only 34.5% of subjects was aware of natural course of AD that usually improves with age. Many subjects (52.6%) misunderstood relapse of AD symptoms for development of tolerance to topical steroids. 158 (89.3%) subjects believed that enhancement of patients’ immune system can improve the symptoms of AD. Dietary restriction is considered as an essential management strategy (72.9%), and many of them (55.4%) agreed to postpone the beginning of weaning food in patients with AD. Food, thought to be associated with an aggravation of AD were as follows in the order of; instant food, snack, egg and wheat (38 (25.6%), 32 (21.5%), 19 (12.8%) and 18 (12.1%) of 149, respectively). Most subjects did not have accurate information about cleansing. In particular, 34.3% of subjects reported that they used only water without any cleanser, and 27.3% agreed that soap made of natural ingredients should be used to avoid harmful effects of chemical substances. Most subjects (57 of 115, 49.6%) obtained information about AD from medical doctors, and consider them as the most reliable sources (137 of 164, 83.5%). Subjects prefer printed materials (69 of 162, 42.6%) to seminars or video-clips for obtaining educational contents.
Conclusion: In this study, we found that patients and caregivers have lots of misunderstandings about AD. Therapeutic education about the course, etiology and management of AD with printed materials made by physicians will be valuable for the effective management of AD.