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Case study: Eilidh's story: 'Great care and attention' on eczema study

Eilidh Ho enrolled her newborn son Finlay into an NIHR-funded clinical trial called the Softened Water for Eczema Prevention (SOFTER) trial. Read why Eilidh decided to get involved in research.

The SOFTER study

Eilidh Ho enrolled her newborn son, Finlay into an NIHR-funded clinical trial called the Softened Water for Eczema Prevention (SOFTER) trial. The study  is testing whether using water softeners from birth will help reduce the risk of a child developing eczema.

Eczema is a dry skin condition affecting one in five children and one in 12 adults. Living in a hard water area is known to increase the risk of having the condition.

Eilidh found out about the trial after attending antenatal classes at Guy's and St Thomas  NHS Foundation Trust in London, where a researcher came into her class and spoke about the SOFTER study. After the session, Eilidh said: “I was instantly interested in taking part. My nephews suffered from eczema as babies so I was already aware of it and interested myself to see if there was a difference in hard water and soft water.”

What it involves

When asked about how the trial itself has been for Finlay, Eilidh said: ”It was easy to sign up and within a month I had met with a research nurse at an appointment and had all the information regarding what the trial fully involved.

“The researchers needed to test Finlay the day he was born and four times throughout until he was six months old. The tests weren't too intrusive and we even had a water filter installed at home to help with the study.

I would 100% encourage people to take part in research. You get great care and attention throughout the study and a trial is something that will hopefully benefit a lot of people in the long run and we've found it a privilege to take part

For more information about how you could #BePartofResearch visit the Be Part of Research website.

The SOFTER trial is being funded by the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre. The water softeners are provided by Harvey Water Softeners. Collaborators include the University of Nottingham, the University of Sheffield, the University of Amsterdam, the US National Institutes of Health and the A*STAR Institute in Singapore.