Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Dealing With Childhood Eczema

I know to well what it can be like to have eczema. Growing up I often had irritable patches, which were sore, painful and, as a teenager, a little bit embarrassing.

It was something I certainly didn't want for my little boy but unfortunately it happened, and it happened very early in his life. At his two week check up the Health Visitor noticed some dry patches on his skin. She told me to stop using certain products and to go soap free, which we did. Yet, it still got worse. Much worse. 

I really felt like I'd let him down, especially when some of his skin got infected. After some back and forth with the GP until he was around 5 months old, we were referred to the hospital to see a specialist. 

Baby sitting in a bumbo chair with a toy in front of him. His face shows sore, dry, eczema skin

With the support of the team at our local hospital Joseph, now four, has very few flare ups and has been discharged from the hospital for quite a while. The specialist commented how well we'd done to get it under control and keep it that way.

So, I thought I'd share the steps we took to deal with childhood eczema. 

Please feel free to try them too but remember I have no medical training and any concerning rashes should be checked by a medical professional asap. This is simply me sharing my experience from one parent to another.

Going soap free

A bath filled with clear water and a pink rubber duck floating in it

Taking the advice of the Health Visitor we went soap free for a week to see if that helped. Washing with just warm water doesn't give babies that lovely scent but it can really help their skin.

Trying over the counter

We asked our pharmacist for advice and they recommended we tried small amounts of nappy cream. Unfortunately it didn't work for us but I know it can often help others.

Making all the laundry non-bio

Front loading washing machine with a lady's hand adjusting the dial

Most people wash their babies clothes and bedding in non-bio powder but what about other fabrics they come into contact with? It dawned on me one day as our then baby laid on our bed in just his nappy that our sheets weren't washed in non-bio and nor were our clothes that he snuggled into when he napped. I switched us all to non-bio and it's been for the better for all of us.

A trip to the doctors (and again and again)

We couldn't get our little one's eczema under control with over the counter items and the advice of the pharmacist so we went the GP. We went again and again. First, we were advised to continue with the nappy cream and then a mild moisturiser and bathing cream, which helped but didn't solve the problem. Then after a very sudden and quite scary flare up, where the rash appeared in under an hour with no signs of it prior, we were prescribed steroid cream. A similar event a few weeks later saw us given antibiotic cream and finally a hospital referral. 

Keeping a diary

Open diary next to an iphone

On the advice of a friend we took pictures of each flare up as she told us it's highly likely they won't be having one when the appointment comes round and she was completely right! We also kept notes on what had happened and where we'd been on those days. This helped us eliminate a couple of possibilities including allergies to family pets.

Taking the advice of the specialist 

Very much like baby clinic we were asked to strip Joseph off and he was weighed and measured. He kicked up an almighty fuss so the specialist came into the room and gave him a quick examination to save us undressing him again. She went through all the photos and notes we had and praised us for compiling them. Gold star Mummy, well Mummy's friend! She immediately told us the type of eczema and how to treat it. Giving us a stack of information and prescriptions to take away. We did what she said every step of the way, as did our childcare providers (Nursery and Granny) and it paid off. When we returned the staff were amazed by how much his skin had improved.

Joseph still has the odd flare up but they're nothing compared to how they were before and we can usually identify what has caused it. Managing your child's eczema doesn't have to be hard. You just need to find what is right for your little one's skin and be determined to get the itching, redness and plain irritating condition under control!

I really hope sharing how we dealt with eczema has helped you on your quest for a solution.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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