Every October, Eczema Awareness Month offers events, discussions, and opportunities to circulate information about one of the most common skin conditions.

More than 31 million people in the United States live with eczema, including 9.6 million children under age 18.

Despite its prevalence, eczema often hides in the shadows and is sometimes dismissed as a minor childhood skin problem you’ll outgrow. Eczema Awareness Month aims to dispel these and other myths about this condition.

You can develop eczema at any age, and not everyone outgrows it. More than just a patch of dry, itchy skin, it can profoundly impact your life. Complications of eczema can include:

  • itching and pain
  • bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
  • sleep problems

Eczema has also been linked with a higher risk of other health conditions, such as asthma, food allergies, and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

Several treatments can help ease eczema symptoms and potentially delay or prevent related conditions.

With Eczema Awareness Month coming up soon, it’s a great time to start clearing up some misconceptions and plan ways to get more involved. Here’s how you can take part.

A good way to grab someone’s attention is with a visual. Hang a poster in a public area (such as a community bulletin board) or share images on social media.

You can make your own Eczema Awareness Month graphics or choose from these galleries:

Keep an eye out for newer images and updates for this year.

Your social media profile photo is prominent in every online interaction you have. It’s prime real estate for raising awareness of important issues, such as eczema, and getting lots of views.

This October, consider changing your pic to a ribbon (such as these eczema awareness ribbons from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America) or adding an awareness frame to your headshot.

Take advantage of Facebook’s temporary profile feature so you can select a specific time period, after which your pic will revert back to the previous one.

Hashtags can be a powerful way to share messages about Eczema Awareness Month and grow the conversation. You can create your own or search for one that already has traction.

Eczema organizations may update the hashtags they’re using to fit a certain theme every year. Here are some popular eczema-related hashtags already in use:

  • #atopicdermatitis
  • #eczema
  • #eczemaawarenessmonth
  • #eczemamonth
  • #eczemawarrior
  • #therealeczema
  • #thisismyeczema
  • #unhideeczema

Know a teen who is living with eczema? If they’re comfortable talking about it, social media can help them advocate for themselves and feel part of a community. Encourage them to get involved in age-appropriate online discussions.

Unsure how to start a conversation during National Eczema Awareness Month? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has you covered with some eczema tweets ready to go. For example:

Quick Tweet for Eczema Awareness Month

“October is #Eczema Awareness Month. It’s usually thought of as a childhood disease. Did you know that over 16 million adults in the U.S. have atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema? #ADinAmerica www.aafa.org/eczema-awareness”

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With just a few clicks you can share this and other ready-made tweets with your followers this October.

You can also search the hashtags listed above and retweet relevant posts. For more inspiration, follow and retweet posts from high-profile accounts such as:

Of course, you can make up your own tweets about eczema facts and stats or share your own personal experiences, such as ways you get relief from eczema’s itch or how you found an effective treatment.

Nonprofit organizations and charities focused on eczema rely on donations to fund their work. Here are some potential organizations to donate to during Eczema Awareness Month:

  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Donations to this not-for-profit organization are used to fund education, advocacy, and research on asthma and allergies, including eczema. Read more about how to make a donation or call 1-800-727-8462.
  • International Eczema Council: This global nonprofit is headquartered in the United States. It promotes research, education, and care for people living with eczema. Learn more about how to make a donation. You can also email info@eczemacouncil.org or call 1-888-382-3724.
  • National Eczema Association: Donations to this nonprofit are used to provide support, education, research, and awareness of eczema across the United States. Read more about ways to donate or call 1-800-818-7546.

It’s also worth checking to see whether your employer offers a matching gift program. If so, your chosen eczema nonprofit organization could receive double or even triple the amount of your donation.

Whether it’s through an eczema organization’s annual fundraiser or you host your own event, participating in a charity walk is a popular way to raise funds and share information during Eczema Awareness Month. The following organizations can provide more info on how to raise money through a walk:

If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child with eczema, this is a great way to get the whole family involved. Teens can also take on bigger roles in these events, helping to find sponsors or even serving as a team captain.

Facts and stats are important in raising awareness, but personal stories about eczema can really hit home. If you’re comfortable sharing, your story can make all the difference to someone who thought they were experiencing itchy, dry patches of skin and flares alone.

Your anecdotes can also help shed light on the many ways in which eczema can impact someone’s life.

Here are a few ideas for telling your eczema story:

  • Share snippets on Twitter using hashtags like #eczemawarrior, #therealeczema, and #thisismyeczema.
  • Upload a video on your social media pages, blog, or website, talking about how you found out you had eczema and the approaches you’ve taken to manage it.
  • Become a National Eczema Association ambassador. Get involved in community outreach, advocacy, and research.
  • Upload and share your story with AltogetherEczema, a global eczema and atopic dermatitis community.

Sharing your story can be an empowering way to get involved in Eczema Awareness Month. But keep in mind that you are never obligated to share more than you’re comfortable with. Sometimes, simply reading eczema stories from others can be enough.

Eczema Awareness Month can be an opportune time to tap into the eczema community through a support group. There’s just something about connecting with others who “get it.” Support groups can help you feel less alone and before you know it, you’re helping others, too.

You can choose to join an eczema support group that meets in person, online, or both. You may need to try a few groups before you find one that clicks. Here are a few places to start your search:

  • Eczema Exchange forums on Inspire connect people with eczema, along with their caregivers, families, and friends, for support and inspiration. There are many community topics, including discussions specifically for teens.
  • Eczema Parents on Facebook is a private group with more than 10,000 members. The group serves as a forum for parents and caregivers of kids with eczema to share tips and info.
  • Find a local support group through the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The organization has eczema support groups all around the country, each with a medical adviser. If there’s no group near you, the organization can help you start one.

October is Eczema Awareness Month. There’s much you can do to educate, encourage, and support the millions of people who live with this often-misunderstood skin condition throughout the annual event. You can get involved by:

  • sharing eczema awareness images
  • updating your profile pic with an eczema awareness ribbon or frame
  • sharing quick tweets and using eczema hashtags
  • donating to an eczema-focused non-profit organization
  • organizing or participating in a charity walk
  • telling your story
  • joining a support group

Keep an eye on these websites for updates on this year’s Eczema Awareness Month:

Even though Eczema Awareness Month runs only through the end of October, you can continue raising awareness and sharing information about the skin condition anytime. These tips are a starting point that you can expand upon throughout the year.