Before the birth of my daughter I knew next to nothing about eczema. I only felt pity for those poor sufferers scratching themselves bleeding- that was about it my knowledge about eczema.
Then my daughter started to develop eczema when she was about 7 weeks old and we went through a very difficult, stressful at times quite depressing time. I often longed for more support or information in order to be able to look after my daughter’s eczema better. Quite often I found the same information again and again. Too many things are not told which could improve or worsen the eczema.
As a new mum, with no experience in eczema and no parents or in- laws to hand I would initially follow exactly what the doctors would tell me. You can imagine the opinions vary enormously, like bathing for example; it ranged from once a week to twice a day. During the time my daughter suffered the most I have never experienced such vast opinions of doctors.
At some point after when nothing really worked and my daughter instead of improving got worse I decided to switch to my common sense before running into the arms of any of the doctors further theories. Combing my own experience in the past with any suggestions of a doctor I finally (most of the times) got the control of my daughter’s eczema. It is not easy to find a way suitable and tailored for your eczema –it takes a lot of patience and experimentation, but is definitely worth the effort.
While it is true that everyone’s eczema is different as are the triggers causing the flare ups I would like to share with you some of the methods which helped our daughter’s eczema, as well as possible triggers.
The possibility that an eczema sufferer is allergic or reacting to some food shouldn’t be excluded. It is good to discuss this matter with a doctor of your trust. If you suspect an allergy or just want to be certain insist on an allergy test if necessary- you have every right to know.
Did you know also that your child could be affected by cross sensitivity? A cross sensitivity happens when someone can eat certain foods at certain times, but at others cannot tolerate it. It happens because some pollens trigger antibodies similar to certain foods- hence the body reacts to these foods.
Keep in mind checking on the ingredients of those injections in case your child is allergic to any.
Clothes should be soft and comfortable on the skin without rubbing for which cotton is always recommended, while wool and synthetic clothes irritate the skin leading to itchiness.
New clothes often contain chemicals so they should be washed before its first use and the clothes labels removed, being an itchiness causing factor in some cases.
For clothes, directly touching the skin will often contain traces of infections, creams and contamination, should be changed on a daily basis.
During the colder season it is much better to wear several thin layers instead of one thick jumper (think of an onion) as this will enable one to control the own temperature to a much better extent by being able to take off or put on the thin clothing
If the scratching of your child is affecting your good night’s sleep you could invest in some special sleeping gowns where the sleeves have no cuts. These however can be quite expensive. If you can’t afford one or trying to save money you can make your own by sewing some ordinary mittens to the ordinary sleeping suits.
Hygiene is an important matter especially for eczema sufferers. It requires a lot of discipline and consistence, which can be an annoyance particularly to small children.
Creaming is rule number one when trying to keep eczema under control. The moisturizing has to be carried out on a daily basis- depending on the grade of the dryness sometimes several times a day. Steroid containing creams used in the right amount and way will help eczema flare ups to go back.
Bathing can be a tricky subject. It is hard to decide on an universal bathing frequency as everyone is an individual. Generally it is advised to bath 1 to 2 times a week. However it varies not only from person to person but other factors such as weather for instance play an important role too. It is recommended to soak in for about 15 minutes at a temperature of 35 degree. The soap should have a pH of 5-6. Gentle and careful drying is much better than rubbing the skin. It is important to apply some cream after bathing. Water might be wet but it dries the skin out. Hot water additionally causes the skin’s containing fats to be rinsed out- which leads to even more dryness.
Some doctors support the opinion that one should bath 2 times a day as a way of fighting infections and to keep the bad bacteria to a minimum. Personally I find bathing my daughter 2 to 3 times a week to be enough during normal weather condition- of course when the temperature fluctuate above 30 Degree the constant sweating might cause infections and itchiness. But again as everyone is different it is impossible to find only one way.
Showering might be a good alternative to bathing though the doctor’s opinions differ. Bathing has the advantage to soak the skin while showering requires less time so the skin is exposed less to water.
There are enough medicines, cream and bath products to try on the market- which certainly is important, but it is worth to try some home remedies along as it sometimes gives better results.
I run out of our bath product once so I switched to olive oil instead. This was a valuable advice from an old trusted doctor which I kept unfortunately ignoring. To my surprise it worked really well. Nowadays I put some olive oil, pumpkin oil and sea salt. The oils moisturize the skin, preventing it from drying out while the sea salt provides important minerals.
Keep the nails short and clean.
Experimenting with new cosmetics and cream can be fun- or a disaster. To make your experience one you want to remember seek professional consultation before trying any new products.
Water proofed cosmetic need a more intensive cleaning afterwards so it is best not to use it at all as this will stress the skin additionally. Choose crème- make ups instead of make up powder as the latter dries the skin out.
Keep in mind that colouring your hair or using hair spray can also have an affect to your eczema
Sometimes people having an eczema condition can react to someone else’s cosmetics, lotions or perfumes- especially parents should pay attention to this
Fake jewellery containing chrome, cobalt traces and nickel can trigger an allergy.
The faeces of house dust mites mixed with dust accumulate in bed-and living rooms to which some children are allergic. Cleaning and dusting on a regular basis should limit its numbers significantly.
Bed linen should be washed at 60 Degree to kill house dust mites.
Soft toys are other places for house dust mite to collect, so limit them to 1 or 2. To reduce the number of the house mites wash the soft toys at 60 Degree or put them in a bag into the freezer to kill the house dust mites off.
Remove mildew as these can affect eczema negatively.
Make sure you keep your child and the bedroom temperature cool-don’t overheat your child. It worsens the eczema badly.
Hobbies and pets
By putting sports cloths into the fridge you can achieve a pleasant cooling effect.
A thick layer of Vaseline should be put on before going to swim as a protective layer against possible triggers such as chlorine .
A fell- or feathered pet might cause the skin get worse so think wisely before getting one as you might need to let go off it.
There are some other things useful to know:
Eczema outbreaks can be caused by teething or an illness some times.
Climate plays an important role.
Plastic and chemical substances such as finger paint could trigger eczema outbreaks.
Single hair strains can cause itchiness when left on the skin.
Eczema is not curable but there is a chance to control it. A life with eczema is not an easy one. One must be dedicated and disciplined finding out the triggers and aim to avoid it. However once triggers are identified, the results are worthy all the efforts put into it. Every identified trigger is worth a gold medal.
I hope the tips will help to make a start achieving it and enjoy life to a better extent.