A DUNFERMLINE schoolgirl who suffers from painful eczema has been given a "huge boost" thanks to an animation highlighting the condition.

Katie Burns often wakes up with blood on her bedsheets from scratching through the night, and can feel so self-concious during a flare-up that she covers the affected areas.

"She can get down when her eyelids and face are affected which can't be covered and she knows people will stare," her mum, Jo, explained.

"She has had some horrible comments over the years, especially from other kids, asking if it is contagious or not wanting to hold her hand at school."

Now, the 10-year-old will be starring in a new cartoon created by UK-wide charity Eczema Outreach Support (EOS), who provide help for nearly 4,000 children affected.

"Starring in the animation has been a huge boost for Katie," Jo said.

"She is quite shy so I was surprised she wanted to be involved but it's been good for her to have something positive to come from her eczema."

The film was released to mark World Eczema Week, which ran from September 12-18, and features children who are part of EOS.

Katie has struggled with inflammation since she was a baby, and over the years has tried dozens of creams, steroids and treatments, including twice-weekly sessions in a UV light box, to find relief.

However, nothing has helped, and her family hope that a renewed effort through immunosuppressant treatment might alleviate her symptoms.

"Lots of people don't understand how debilitating eczema can be," Jo added.

"She can spend all day itchy and sore and subconsciously scratch at her skin until it bleeds.

"Sleep can be disturbed with intense itching and often the bed sheets will be covered in blood from her breaking the skin in her sleep."

The youngster is a patient at Queen Margaret Hospital and has been part of EOS, which gives her the opportunity to meet other children like her, for 18 months.

Jo continued: "We are lucky that the dermatology department at our hospital are absolutely amazing."

"They will fit us into the clinic if Katie has a bad flare and have been so supportive and helpful but I know not all families are so fortunate and can really struggle to access to dermatology."

For World Eczema Week, EOS has launched the 'You Can Hold My Hand' – a social media and advocacy campaign to reduce the stigma around eczema.

Christine Roxburgh, CEO of EOS, said: "Even in 2022, some people still think eczema is contagious and are wary of holding hands for fear of catching the condition.

"We hear from members all the time that people are wary of touching skin affected by eczema.

"During a flare, people with eczema can be very sore and feel incredibly self-conscious.

"Often their mental wellbeing is impacted by their skin looking inflamed and raw, so dealing with insensitive comments or fear of being left out can be very hard.

"You cannot catch eczema, and it is perfectly safe to hold the hand of someone with the condition and we hope lots of people back our campaign for World Eczema Week."

You can find out more information at www.eos.org.uk.