Monday, September 24, 2007

Childhood Eczema?

Hi, everyone.

How're the school runs going?

I've been thinking of bringing up this topic on the club, as perhaps some nice Mum or the other here may have experience with childhood eczema, seeing that it's becoming so common. Have any of you mums out there have children/infants with eczema?

My 1 year old has atopic dermatitis (=atopic eczema) and I'm wondering when it'll get better :-(. I use the emollients and steroid creams. (And lots of prayers, which might indicate my desperation). In spite of these, there isn't much change in her condition at 1 year. It's about the same as it was at 5 months of age. I had an impression that it would improve as she got older..... but she's still as scratchy as ever. She can't live outside babygro's (full baby suits) because she literally mutilates herself. If my watchful eyes stray from her for longer than a few minutes, I return to a bloodied arm or leg (she scratches herself till she bleeds). The mitts/socks on her hands are useless now because she can pull anything off.

If any of you have experience with a child with eczema, would you share your experience(s) about it? What meds/preparations did you find most useful and not? When did the eczema start and when did it get better? Did anyone try dietary modifications or not? Any tips you can share? And most importantly, did steroid use leave the child with any side effects like discoloured/pigmented skin? I admit that it's the steroid ointment use which has me scared the most. I've been reassured by my dermatologist that at that small dose, she won't come to any harm, but I still worry.

I would appreciate it very much and look forward to hearing from you.

[Now if nobody here has dealt with eczema, you're one lucky bunch :-)]


Asha said...

My son has a little dry skin and he uses 1% Steroids cream too which helps a lot.Sometimes kids grow out of it, consulting a Doctor is the best way.Good luck!:))

Anju said...

My son had Eczema as a baby and it runs in my husbands family. At around 5mths we finally took him to a dermatologist. A few things that she recommended helped get rid of his eczema completely. He is 3yrs old now and does not have eczema.

A few things she suggested were

A very quick bath like 5-10mins and not longer than that.
As soon as he finished his bath quickly pat dry and rub tons of cream. The cream she suggested and i still use it is VANICREAM. Its over the counter but you will have to get it at the pharmacy. I swear by this cream for controlling Eczema. When he was little i would apply this cream on him like 3 times a day..specailly his legs,arms and face. The only cure of eczema is controlling the flare ups and this cream helps do that. This is just a regular cream and not a steroid. I used the steroid on the flare ups and then apply this cream.

The doctor also suggested to use Dove unscented soap bar.

Another thing that helps with his skin his to take him in the ocean/sea water. The salt water makes his skin really smooth.

Hope this helps. i remember how much he suffered when he was a baby and it would break my heart to see his suffer.

RJ said...

My son had pretty bad rash around his neck for first 6-7 months of his life. Touchwood its better now. We tried so many things it used to appear frequently.
Few things that worked were:
- Keeping the area dry. Wiping 3/4 times a day

- We did use steriods and it worked temporarily. I think it was called fluticasone. This is what our ped prescribed here in US. I wasn't very happy with it. As soon as we stopped using it came back.

- Then we went back home to India and we did see a dermatologist. He prescribed mupirocin(T-bact) cream with cetaphil. We used it for a week or two and it worked. The rashes didn't appear so frequently. Although it did occasionaly then we applied again for a day or two. This is the only thing that worked. I don't know what is T-bact cream in US though.

Have you seen a specialist ?
Goodluck and Take care.

Sandeepa said...

My daughter had a little rash around her belly button in her first year and 1% steroid cream helped but didn't use it for a long time.
What does the doc say, you would know

Rachelle said...

Oh boy, do I know about this one! Three out of my four children have had eczema. With my daughter, it showed up when she was about 3 months old and was gone by the time she was 2. We didn't need the steroid creams, just a really good emollient.

My son is almost 4 and still has pretty bad eczema. It's much worse if he uses any kind of perfumed soap or detergent or consumes dairy products (we've eliminated dairy from our home). He uses elocum cream (topical steroid) when the eczema gets really bad and we've been using "Dream Cream" from LUSH as an emollient. It works really well. We use perfume and dye free soaps and detergents in everything, including laundry. Also, I've eliminated harsh household cleaners and use mostly natural, organic cleaners.

My littlest guy had some eczema as an infant, but at 19 months, it now seems to be a thing of the past.

Steroid creams made me quite nervous too. From the research I did, stay away from Protopic, whatever you do. It seems to be the most iffy cream out there. We were told that elocum is one of the safest. We use it sparingly but there are times when it just can't be avoided.

Kavitha said...

I have sent you an email, chk it out.

GettingThereNow said...

After reading Rachelle's comment I couldn't stop myself from commenting. Protopic has been issued a BLACK LABEL warning by the FDA. That is the strongest warning issued by FDA (I think) and it has been known to increase the risk of skin cancer upon exposure to sun after using this ointment. So no matter what, please PLEASE stay away from that one. My daughter was prescribed Protopic for her Alopecia but we stopped using it just a couple of months before the FDA came out with the warning. I don't know if doctors are still (or should be) prescribing it.

A friend of mine used homeopathy for controlling her son's eczema and has seen loads of difference. Another friend's daughter had asthma AND eczema and her daughter is better with homeopathy. Maybe you could try that?

Hope you find something that helps. **hugs**

SJ said...

Hi MummyJaan, I have been fortunate not to have seen this myself, but I do have a friend whose 1 yer ol had similat symptoms. Your doctor may already have considered this, but turns out for that child, she was allergic to a bunch of foods (milk, soy, wheat and some daals) all of which her mother cosumed a lot of while nursing her. Have you had the child tested for allergies? This child's skin has been clearing up slowly after they figured out a lot of items she was allergic to.
Wish you all the best and hope your child outgrows it soon.

Vidya said...

My daughter is prone to eczema. I too was prone to eczema as a child. the doc told my mother to give me frequent baths, keep skin clean and dry, and that I'd outgrow it. That happened, and I wasnt affected after puberty. My daughter gets these patches since she started swimming. the doctor here said to keep her skin clean and rub lots of baby cream into it. i am not sure about american brands, but here in Japan i swear by Pigeon baby soap and Pigeon abby cream. the soap is very very gentle, mild and unscented. I think each patch scares me silly and I run to the phone and call my mother.
Did you try ayurvedic medicine? I prefer those for skin treatments.

mummyjaan said...

Hi, all. Thanks for your input. Asha, rj, sandeepa, I think the rashes you're talking about are different. Thank you for sharing your advice, all the same. I've consulted the doc's - including a pediatric dermatologist (skin specialist). Doctors can give you professional advice and prescriptions, and statistics ("50% of children are completely normal by 1 year of age" is what I got). Fellow mums give insight into the disease, and tips and tricks that they've learned :). Somehow I trust my own GP's advice (he had children with eczema) more than my specialist's.

Rachelle, Anju, Kavitha, Vidya, and SJ - thanks for the input.

I learned a few new things from your posts:

1. Short baths lasting 5 - 10 minutes. I'll try this one. Until now, I'd been sitting her in the emollient (soap-free moisturising cleanser) bath for about 15 - 20 minutes, which are the instructions. This is worth a try.

2. I have been thinking I might need to move up to a stronger steroid for some time. I won't move up to Elocon, but I think I'll go with the specialist's advice to use Eumovate ( a stronger steroid) if necessary. The hydrocortisone has been doing little for her of late.

3. The food allergies. I'm fairly certain my baby is allergic to dairy - I have noticed flare-ups on occasion after I consumed a lot of dairy products - but haven't got an appointment yet with the immunologist. So it's my suspicion but has yet to be confirmed. The lovely skin specialist dismissed me *entirely* when I brought this up. ("There's no evidence", said she, vigorously shaking her head.)

I have not tried homeopathy or ayurveda yet, but might soon. .

GTN, thank you for your advice and the hug.

And yes, Rachelle and GTN, I'm staying away from protopic.

Thank you all again. I better cut this short as I need to pick up my kiddo from school, but will be back with a couple of question soon.

Take care!

Devi said...

Both my children had and have eczema.
My older son developed it when he was 2 and still we get the rare flare up during winters. My younger daughter's started around 3 months. Thought will share my experience. These are the things that helped me.
The first thing I did was start using non-bio washing powder.
Always use 100% cotton clothing on the kids. I am sort of obsessed with this.
Never use any soap, perfumes, and powders on the child, not even hand wash for washing hands.
Always use separate towels.
Use an emollient for bathing and apply 50-50 liquid paraffin when ever possible. At one point of time I was applying it almost 4 to 5 times a day for my son. It is easy when the kids are at pre-school or on holiday. This really works.
I have found that green gram or moong dahl has triggered the most allergic reactions in my children.
It is possible to control eczema. My older one who is 6 now has almost grown out of it and my younger one's eczema flares up during winter and fades in the summer.
In my discussions with other moms in similar positions, we have found that drinking lots of water helps.
Good luck. :)

mummyjaan said...

Hi, devi. Thanks for sharing. That's surprising about the moong dal - I hadn't thought of it as an allergenic food.

I keep my daughter fairly "greasy" as well, now I apply the emollients (the white soft paraffin/liquid paraffin combinations) about 4 times a day now - and in general whenever her skin seems dry-ish. I seem to be doing everything possible. I just think she has it very severe, and need to explore the dietary angle further.

Thanks for your input.

Monica said...

Hi There,

I was just browsing and came across your blog. I'm for all natural treatments. I found a treatment that worked for my cousins little girl, who was four at the time. It is so sad to see little ones suffer with this terrible skin disorder. Prescriptions aren't always the best way to go, as most of them are hydro cortisone cremes, which are a steroid and could potentially cause other health issues. By changing your laundry soap, bounce and bath products to a natural source you will eliminate your child's contact with harsh abrasives (that contribute to skin irritations). Eczema can not be cured, but through my experience it sure can be treated and flare ups controlled. If you are interested in hearing about the natural products that I use, feel free to checkout my blog at or log onto my website In case you are wondering, I'm speaking from experience. I have two children and I currently run my own business doing referrals for a remarkable wellness company. I would love to help you and your little one.

mummyjaan said...

Hi, Monica, didn't realize there was another comment here. Thank you for the advice. I actually have avoided the harsh soaps and detergents. Thank you for your offer of help. I will be checking your website and will direct my questions to you there.

Kitchenmate said...

Hello Mummyjaan:
I know a close friend's daughter having this pretty bad "eczema episode" and I, myself seen the evidence of the child scratching pretty bad that it becomes dark brown wound and scars. Bleeding wounds all her hands, legs, thighs, tummy, even her head she scratch hard. These scratching left her FAMILY not sleeping all night, only the ultimate tiredness make the kid.
Mom tried all possible treatments... atlast ONLY HOMEOPATHY medicines helped her and some dietery restrictions. Mom controlled tomato, brinjal, plantains, some milk products... may be i will ask my friend and post the rest immediately. I am not a member of DMC, but an inactive food blogger.. i couldn't stop myself replying to such a query.. Hope you find some solace for the kid... i truly understand your plight mom.. hugs to you! Dont worry, kid will do better. Our prayers are with you.