*Check out the slideshow version of my article here https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/proactive-ways-to-get-involved-in-the-eczema-community#slide=8
“It’s officially 2018, and among the weight and travel resolutions I hear all around me, or the people that are swearing they are done with resolutions altogether, I find myself wondering again if this will be the year when someone finds a cure for eczema. Wouldn’t that be great? So many of us, millions worldwide in fact, face another year of possibly dealing with this condition in silence, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to do it alone.
I’ve decided to compile a list of proactive ways to get involved in the eczema community. It’s up to you — whether you want to dive right in or take baby-steps — to commit to getting involved and being active.
Reddit: A self-regulating discussion board
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, you should really spend some time on the website. People from all over the world weigh-in on an endless variety of topics, making this the greatest unfiltered source of information available today.
Reddit specifically has a superb eczema forum, where you’ll catch all the latest stories, answer or ask questions, and see daily recommendations. It’s my personal favorite go-to as you can connect with people around the world and see which methods they use to treat their skin.
Meetup is an awesome website where you meet up (hence the name) with people who share a common interest. Their mission is to get people to come together and create lifelong connections. This is the perfect opportunity to search for eczema meetups in your area or even create one yourself. We’re all struggling with our skin, so what better way to find support than to meet people and bounce ideas off each other about handling eczema!
Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! Oh my! There is an endless list of social media websites you can join to reach out and connect with people. Personally, I’ve met so many people (virtually, of course) through Instagram. Some I’ve reached out to and others who have reached out to me. It’s a wonderful feeling to see all the images of these brave people sharing their stories, showing their skin, and facing their battles with eczema. It’s inspiring and I’m forever grateful for these platforms.
National Eczema Association
Founded in 1988 by patients, nurses, physicians and others, the National Eczema Association (NEA) is one of the oldest eczema communities out there. It was formed on the hope that this association could provide emotional support and funding, while spreading awareness of the disease to others. It’s a great resource for the latest medical advances and treatment for eczema. It has also partnered with huge pharmaceutical brands like Pfizer, Neutrogena, Cruel, and CVS, just to name a few.
This might be one of the most underrated ways to connect with a community, but there are always opportunities to volunteer. Some examples include helping out with Camp Wonder through the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation, becoming an NEA ambassador, or finding an organization you believe in and asking how you can get involved with their mission. Giving back to the eczema community can be extremely beneficial for you and for those you help.
One of my personal favorites is to form your own community. Whether it be your own blog, website, app, eczema recipe book, or a sensitive-skin clothing line — just start something. The best ways to gather a community is by creating a product, service, or source of information that supports those in need.
Strike up a conversation
Yes, I know its 2018 and we avoid human small talk like the plague. However, you’d be surprised by how many people you come across each day who are also living with eczema. It might feel uncomfortable opening up at first, but you never know how your story might encourage someone else, and vice versa.