Tue, Jan 20, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Short film highlights difficulties for those suffering from hives

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwanese Dermatological Association yesterday launched a charitable short film highlighting the predicaments experienced by patients with urticaria to raise public awareness of the often neglected skin condition.

The 15 minute movie, titled One-Fifth Destiny (五分之一的糟遇), revolves around the life of a single mother, nicknamed Hsiao Man (小曼), a highly educated woman who is forced to settle for a part-time job at a coin-operated laundry because her condition often requires her to take abrupt leaves of absence, which made her seem unemployable to her former bosses.

Taiwanese Dermatological Association director-general Yang Chih-Hsun (楊志勛) said that urticaria, or hives, often manifests as itchy and swollen red rashes and bumps.

“As the bumps mostly occur around the limbs and the face, individuals who suffer from the condition not only have to endure physical discomfort, but also emotional distress caused by being the target of other people’s strange stares and discrimination,” Yang said.

Association deputy secretary-general Huang Yu-huei (黃毓惠) said that as many as 70 percent of the nation’s 230,000 hives patients are women, most of them aged between 30 and 49.

While the exact trigger that causes the skin condition remains unknown, stress has been associated with chronic urticaria, which periodically affects individuals for longer than six weeks, Huang said.

“Given that nowadays women often have to juggle both work and family, it could be the main reason why the number of female patients is significantly higher than that of their male counterparts,” she added.

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Department of Dermatology attending physician Chung Wen-hung (鐘文宏) said the association has introduced the Urticaria Activity Score 7 (UAS7) patient-reported outcome tool in an effort to help doctors prescribe the most suitable course of treatment for patients.

The UAS7 requires patients to assess the number of rashes on their body and the level of itchiness on a scale ranging from zero to three for seven consecutive days, Chung said.

“The combined score, with zero being the lowest and 42 the highest, will give doctors a clear idea as to how severe a patient’s condition is and whether the treatments they are being administered are working, and prevent doctors from passing judgement based solely on patients’ ambiguous descriptions,” Chung said.

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