Coping with my Child's Eczema - Our Story



The itch that doesn't go away.

It has been some time since I last wrote about Bubbles' eczema. My post on LactoGG has garnered a lot of interest, and I have been answering questions about our experience with Bubbles' eczema, and the type of products we use to ease her discomfort.

Unfortunately, while that post described the containment of her eczema then, we have since gone through many more rounds of flare-ups. 

The truth is, we are still very much grappling with her eczema, and during flare ups, it is very tough on her, and on us. Through this painful process however, we are learning a lot more about what eczema is, and various ways to help make things better for her.

I have therefore decided to write more about coping with her eczema, starting with this post. I am hoping that these posts will help others who have children that suffer from eczema too, and perhaps serve as a platform for further discussions and sharing of coping methods.

This first post is a long one, as this is the story that most parents with children suffering from eczema wanted to know. 

If you have any questions or advice about coping with eczema, I will be happy to hear from you in the comments, or through email! 

Our Eczema Story - Till LactoGG

1. The Start of Her Eczema | At around 11 months of age, eczema appeared on Bubbles' arm and leg joints. Whether relevant or not, I noted that the rashes appeared exactly when I fully transited her from breast milk to formula milk. Her regular pediatrician referred her to do a skin-prick test to see if she had any underlying allergies that was causing her eczema. We had her tested for the common allergens, as well as a couple of others that I thought she might be allergic to. Surprisingly, the results were all NEGATIVE. It was a bit of a letdown as we were hoping for answers.

2. Consultations with a Dermatologist | Her eczema continued to get worse despite being on a strict moisturizing routine. Her skin sometimes got bloody and weepy. It was awful. Upon a friend's recommendation, we took her to a family doctor cum dermatologist. I mentioned him in this post. The doctor prescribed his own clinic-made creams and washes, and also a daily dose of LactoGG. We had to follow a tedious wash - moisturise process 2-3 times a day but her rashes did completely clear.

I stopped sharing about her eczema on the blog around this time.

Unfortunately, Bubbles' eczema - her rashes, came back with a vengeance, once we stopped the tedious cream and shower routine. We repeated the process I think three times. Each time her skin cleared, but came back again once the creams ran out. I suspected that the medicated creams containing steroids were spot healing the rashes, but not hitting at the root causes. I was fed up, and needed to find out how to stop her eczema from reappearing.

Our Eczema Story - What has happened since then?

1.  Examining Possible Allergies | Sometime last year, we took Bubbles to see a pediatric allergy specialist. This doctor ordered a skin-prick test again but only for inhalant allergies and a few key foods (wheat, milk, eggs). She explained that food allergies get better over time, and so since the previous test was negative, she said that it was unlikely that Bubbles had food allergies. This time, tests for foods turned out negative again, but in the test for inhalant allergies, dust mites came up positive. I was elated that we found an answer, and religiously followed instructions to reduce Bubbles' exposure to dust mites. We had her mattress covered with anti-dustmite sheets, increased the frequency of washing her bedsheets, removed stuff toys from her room etc.

Unfortunately, this doctor also prescribed a whole lot of creams, including those with mild steroids, that we used as instructed. Heeding her advice, we also did wet wraps for Bubbles at night, to ease her discomfort and to aid her skin's healing. Managing her eczema was a really tedious affair.

Like before, her skin healed beautifully, but the moment we stopped the medicated creams, the rashes gradually came back, along with all the accompanying pain.

2. The Terrible Itch and Discomfort | By this time, I felt really helpless as a mother. It was a terrible time for her, as she was so often itchy that she regularly woke up in the middle of the night to scratch for 1-2 hrs and not be able to fall back asleep. I would find dead skin and blood stains on her bed. The discomfort of itch and pain was affecting her mood and her learning too, as she would sometimes refuse to do an activity because of the pain of broken skin. I was exhausted from being woken up every night, staying awake for 1-2 hours. creaming and putting cold compresses on her.

3. The Non-Allergy Revelation | Upon another friend's recommendation, we decided to take Bubbles to see a much more senior pediatric allergy specialist. This doctor asked once again for a skin prick test to be done. This was Bubbles' 3rd skin prick test. Like the pediatric allergy specialist before, he did not think she has food allergies (even though I spoke to him briefly about my suspicions), and only tested her for inhalant allergens. This time, her dust-mite allergy showed up again, but in reduced figures compared to the 2nd test she did.

Then, the doctor told us something new: He said that Bubbles' eczema is not so much an allergic eczema but an NON-ALLERGIC eczema. I was taken aback and confused by this statement! He then explained that her case is more of a skin condition, where her skin barrier is not effective at retaining moisture. With this dryness, the skin is more susceptible to bacteria, which cases rashes and itch.

He then told us to take her swimming 3 times a week and to put a mild antiseptic on her rashes twice a day, together with her usual moisturizing routine. Unsurprisingly, he also prescribed mild steroidal creams. In addition, we were given many bottles of Zrytec, and told to give it to her daily. We followed his instructions and in 2 weeks almost all her rashes cleared up.

My elation was short-lived however, as (as you might have guessed by now), her rashes came back once we stopped the medicated creams.

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In the next few posts, I will be sharing about products that we have tried to help ease Bubbles' discomfort caused by her eczema. When ready, I will be sure to post updates about how we are coping, and what other steps we have been taking to help find relief for her.

Do you or your children suffer from eczema? You could leave a comment on this post, or drop me a line. Your sharing may encourage someone else on a similar path!

If you haven't already, you may want to read:
Coping with my Child's Eczema - The Creams & Lotions

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Corsage. I am yr silent reader from Malaysia and my daughter same age as Bubble also suffers from eczema. She started having it since she was 3 month old and we did prick test when she was 1 yo. The test shows she is allergic to dust mite, soy and egg white. To toughen her immune system, we gv her biolife probiotic and remove all the offending allergens from her diet. We bathe her with cetaphil wash and moisturize her skin with QV lotion. We only use steroid cream on open wound to avoid infection. We barely get any sleep because she would wake up scratching and scratching till it bleeds. It is so heartbreaking to see her condition. When it's so bad i would give her piriton or zyrtec so she could sleep better. Sometimes she would get hives all over her body if she ate seafood or peanuts. Whenever we go we would keep avene facial spray handy since it can act as a cold compress on the itchy skin. I used to apply wet towel or ice pack in her body but i find avene facial spray is better and more soothing.
We she turned 3 we notice there were no more dry patches behind her knee, elbow and tummy . She also started to sleep better at night. However due to recent haze situation, she had another flare up. Her skin was extremely dry that i had to moisturize every hour instead of after bathe time. I joined an eczema group who encourage healing thru natural process and they recommend a cream named moogoo. Tried it on my daughter and so far it works wonder than QV. (oh, i uv tried pot of gold balm, badger balm, buds, balneum, atopiclair but so far qv and moogoo is the best). I also bought dust mite sheet from this group and i am happy with it. My paed to me that one day my daughter will outgrow this. And i am hoping the day will come soon ☺

Alya
KL, M'sia

Anonymous said...

Hugs...as an adult who suffers from ezcema and often woke with so much anguish and pain from the open wounds as I shower in the morning :(( but I found removing chicken from my diet helps alot. Chicken are often injected with hormones and have the tendency to react with our skin. Praying for the lil one to heal and let all the ezcema be gone!
liverella

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Alya:
Thank you so much for taking time to share your experience! From reading your comment, I know that you fully understand the challenges of managing eczema in one's own child. Yes, the haze really made the eczema worse for Bubbles too :( I forgot to write that we were also using Zyrtec quite a lot! Will amend the post to add that in. Yes, we have tried Moogoo. I'll be creating a list of products that we have tried and sharing them on the blog soon. Hopefully, it will be a list people can start trying from. Big hugs!

liverella:
Yes, sometimes I get to frustrated with her constant scratching and get impatient with her. Then I try to remind myself that even as an adult, it is difficult to avoid scratching a mozzie bite! We've been given some advice re her food. I'll share soon once we've tried it for a little longer!

Anonymous said...

hi, for anti dustmite covers,t those that enclose the entire mattress with a zip are more effective. Google allercare. hope this helps.

jtt

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

jtt:
Thanks for sharing! Yes, we also use those anti-dustmite sheets! I should write that somewhere in one of the posts in this eczema series.

Anonymous said...

np, glad to know that. :-)

jtt

Anonymous said...

Hi Corsage, my baby who is now 8 months old suffers from severe eczema. Her story started when she was 2 months old. She was on full breast milk and had severe rashes all over her body and face. I thought it might be the food that I eat which is passed to her through BM. I stopped eating all the food that might cause allergy. Every meal was RICE and more RICE. Then I decided to introduce some SOY formula to her as I suspected she might be allergic to milk and dairy. Ezcema did not subside. Brought her to see 2 different allergy doctors. Same routine.. skin prick test, blood test. Her result came as wheat, gluten, dust, sun allergy, seafood, nuts. THE PROBLEM WAS, she was not eating any of these! she only drank milk. by then I had stopped breastfeeding her. So the doctors recommended special hydrolysed fm (Alimentum). Her ezcema settled down slightly.

However, the doctors told us that her skin will flare up every 2 weeks. so what do we do? Intensive moisturising routine that took place every 2 hours using QV cream, Physiogel AI cream. Apply steriod cream for one week, then stop for another week. Being desparate, we followed the instructions and used the steroid creams whenever her skin flares up. IT DID NOT STOP. Here comes the frustration. WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON?

I met my ex-teacher who suffered from severe oozy eczema all her life. She told me about TOPICAL STEROID ADDICTION and TOPICAL STEROID WITHDRAWAL. please read more here: http://itsan.org/

I stopped using the steroid creams immediately. No matter how red her skin is, i refused to apply steroid cream. I even stopped using QV and Physiogel as they seem to sting the red skin. I switched to using the organic creams and bath wash such as Four Cow Farm Tea Tree Remedy.

Her skin burns. Ezcema NEVER burns. It only itches. My poor baby was going through Topical Steriod Withdrawal (TSW). She is 2 months into TSW. She is still red and burning. She scratches till her skin bleeds. Nights are terrible during flare ups.

Please read more about TSA and TSW. STOP USING THE STEROIDS. You can join the local sg facebook eczema and allergies group for great resources and info. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EczemaAllergiesGoNatural/

Fenny

Anonymous said...

BTW.. The recurring rashes is NOT eczema anymore. It's the skin screaming for more steriods. Please also google for Dr Marvin Rappaport who discovered TSA. He is a well known dermatologist.

Fenny

MarcieMom said...

Hi!

I didn't know your daughter has eczema too :) Am fellow blogger of Rise and Shine. Would you like to share on my Friday series 'Someone Got Eczema' and managed an aspect of life?
http://eczemablues.com/category/living-with-eczema/

or do participate in my book, publishing soon
http://eczemablues.com/my-book/

Have a good day!
Mei

Herbert Pegad said...

Hi! My son is 8mons old he has severe eczema! Dermatologist,pediatrician and even allergologist prescribed steroid cream+moisturizer. Like you, once the therapy stopped it will come back with vengeance! We use steroid for only two months on and off, then one desperate night,searching and searching in the net, i stumbled to www.itsan.org and i found the answer of my son's severe eczema! It's the steroid cream i am putting it on him make the eczema worst! Please all of you be careful on using steroid cream! And visit itsan.org and see for yourself the victims of steroid. My son is now 4months steroid withdrawal and he is healing without steroid. Blessing to all of you!

Piercing said...

It's hard enough for adults to resist scratching, much less children. The scratchiness works against healing.

Advanced Dermatology Reviews said...

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Unknown said...



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Anonymous said...

Children's eczema trigger is mainly food and external environment. If they are just starting semi solids, introduce food cautiously one at a time to check their reaction. Here is a good guide compiled from healthcare source and eczema organization : http://skinshare.sg/blog/2016/11/15/introduce-solid-food-baby-correctly-identify-allergy-symptoms/

In addition, if your child is above 1 year old, you should also try to be mindful to replace itch causing food with more alkaline food. You can read about alkaline eczema diet here : http://skinshare.sg/blog/category/eczema-diet/