Some affected individuals develop deep swellings of the skin and soft tissues which can be painful and disfiguring, as well as itchy. However, the good news is the newly launched, Urticaria Xplained, is a free app and website which provides disease information to patients and their families/carers through storytelling. It follows the journey of a real patient and breaks down what urticaria is, explains risk factors, treatment options, as well as side effects and psychological issues.
Available online at www.urticariaxplained.com.au, iTunes and Google Play, Urticaria Xplained features the story of Steph, a teacher, who in 2011 was diagnosed with the condition.
Steph’s journey after diagnosis has been long and she believes Urticaria Xplained will help others going through a similar journey.
“The app is an innovative idea. There was no obvious support whatsoever when my reactions began,” said Steph. “I wanted to be part of this so that others don’t feel like they are suffering alone. It’s a very isolating condition”.
Urticaria Xplained has been developed and collaborated with input from patients, immunologists and dermatologists, as well as ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) and Skin and Cancer Foundation Inc and is sponsored by Novartis Australia.
Dr Connie Katelaris, Professor of Immunology & Allergy hopes Urticaria Xplained can help patients who are going through a tough time.
“Chronic urticaria is such a distressing and persisting condition that it is important for patients to have access to a correct diagnosis and ongoing management,” she said. “We should aim for complete control so they can get on with their lives!”
Dr Kim Chilman-Blair, Founder and CEO of Medicine X, the organisation that worked with Steph to tell her story, believes that storytelling is the best way for patients to understand and retain information in order to make serious decisions about their treatment.
“Around 80 per cent of medical information provided by doctors is forgotten straight away1. Urticaria Xplained is designed to reinforce this information in a creative and powerful way,” Dr Chilman-Blair said.