8/9/11

An Itchy Situation


My feathers are rarely ruffled when it comes to my toddler’s life/health/happenings. He’s almost two. Speaks his own language. And is a walking & running germ-attracting daredevil.  Skinned knees, mysterious scabs and penny-sized bruises are just a way of life for Jack.

Several weeks ago, Jack began sporting a small, dry, red itchy-looking patch on his chin.  A few weeks later, we spent three consecutive days on three different lakes. By day three – Sunday – a dry, red, bumpy rash began creeping up his back.  My sister-in-law and I both thought eczema. That night, he complained of “ichies” and tugged at his back. We bathed and lotioned him before bed. Monday morning his back was unrecognizable. Our pediatrician scolded me with his eyes as he quickly concluded it was poison ivy. Five days of steroid by mouth. 

Exactly one week later, the rash returned. Same scenario. Outside for two days straight. Last day in the lake waters. Inflamed back Monday morning. This time, with a little less attitude, the pediatrician claimed an allergic reaction to his sunscreen. Before I can explain that we’ve used the same hypoallergenic sunscreen since birth, the doctor writes a topical cream script. Benadryl for the itching. Sigh.

This time it takes five days for the rash to subside. By day six it had started to linger around his diaper and completely surrounded his mouth. A different pediatrician at the practice was baffled that it hadn’t been properly diagnosed sooner. As we all thought – eczema.

Despite all the signs I pointed out to the doctors on numerous visits, it still took almost three months to diagnosis a condition that 90 percent of kids develop before age 5?!!? (Babycenter.com) I had suggested eczema at the very first  itchy rash visit!! I’d even mentioned it in the winter when Jack struggled with dry patches. “Just dry skin,” the doctor said.  How many other health conditions were misdiagnosed?! We’d visited the pediatrician every 10 days for six months this past winter (Thank you daycare)!

Frustrated with the itchy irritant dilemma, I turned to my trusted mommy friend, Carly. She's my go-to resource guide with two boys, almost 5 and 7, the youngest still coping with small bits of eczema. When he was a baby, Carly and her husband constantly battled eczema breakouts (he’s since been diagnosed with food allergies). I knew she’d have the best advice. The doctor gave us a box of approved lotions, body washes and ointments. Told us to switch his beloved milk to soy. And prescribed a topical steroid for flare-ups.  I knew Carly would have something better. Been there, done that advice:

“The first thing I learned about eczema, with everything else medically related, is to avoid only treating the symptoms.  For almost one year straight we were prescribed a higher level of hydrocortisone cream.  

One time, Asher had an oozing eczema patch on his arm. We knew there had to be something else we could do. Although this was a few years ago, food allergies were not the first thing they had considered testing him for. 

Once we knew he was allergic to certain foods, like eggs, the eczema got better - but not all the way.Now approaching 5, Ash still has dry patches of skin on his scalp – not to be confused with cradle cap – and gets patches on his arms. 

A favorite we did – especially when he was little – was Aveeno Oatmeal Baths. Quite messy, but it takes the redness and itch out. 

 We swear to this day by Aquaphor.  It’s sticky and sort-of oily, but one coat before bed will do the trick for the entire next day.  There are SO many lotions out there that help with eczema, but they do not cure it.  Aquaphor lasts a long time and a little bit goes a long way. 
I also avoid aerosol sunscreen and bug spray.  It is convenient, but stings dry skin and the sunscreen leaves a yellow residue on clothing. 

Short story: avoiding irritants on the skin, really find out what is causing the allergies and avoid treating only the symptoms.” 

Our doctor also recommended Eucerin (which makes Aquaphor) to use as Jack’s regular daily lotion. 

For more information on eczema, visit the National Eczema Association and speak with your doctor if you suspect your child has eczema.

2 comments:

Brianne said...

We couldn't get by without using the Aquaphor for Braden's eczema. And, you're right, a little bit does go a LONG way. We use it everyday and are still on our first tub! He still has a couple lingering red, itchy spots but his eczema is much more under control than a year ago. We are also getting him allergy tested in two weeks, so hopefully we will be able to find out a cause. Good luck in finding Jack's triggers :)

Leah B said...

Aquaphor is now our motto. It appears to be triggered by heat/sweat. Hoping it's not food! Anything that you found to cause Braden's flare-ups?

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