Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is an illness that causes the skin to be fragile or loose. Because the skin is so fragile, it can be easily injured, causing painful blisters to form. These blisters can cause serious problems if they become infected and this can be fatal.
EB is hereditary (runs in families).
Anyone can have EB. Generally, the symptoms first appear in babies or toddlers.
There are three main types of EB:
Skin blisters are the major symptom of EB.
EB can be mild, moderate or severe and cause permanent scarring. Blisters can develop on the skin, the scalp causing hair loss, the nails resulting in nail loss, deformity of fingers and toes.
Thickening of palms and soles can also occur. Some blisters can be inside the body - in places such as the mouth, stomach, oesophagus (difficulty in swallowing), bladder and elsewhere.
There can also be dental abnormalities.
Diagnosis is done by taking a small sample of skin and looking at it under a microscope.
There are doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, dietitians and local patient and parent support groups that can help.