Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Handling Kids Eczema

Lil Pumpkin has eczema, and she probably got it from me since it is hereditary and runs in the family. Since young, I've had patches of dry, scaly skin that sometimes weep. I remember having at least 2 incidents of bad flare-ups that kept me at home for a while and I had to stop all social activities.

When Lil Pumpkin was 2 months old, she already had to see a specialist in the National Skin Clinic {NSC} because it got us pretty worried. Eczema is a chronic life-long condition, and while we don't expect it to go away completely, we do hope that it will somehow improve with age. Understanding her condition from personal experience {me} & medical knowledge {the boy}, we have kept it under good control.

Recently, her eczema has flared up. It's not to the point that it's raw & oozing, but there are now more patches of red, dry & scaly and sometimes bumpy skin, and she is visibly upset with all the scratching. The areas affected are her back, neck, insides of her elbow / knees and thighs. We are not sure what has changed or triggered it. Her diet is not any different, and the only major change is that she is attending preschool now. Could it be something from there that is causing her eczema to flare up? I don't think it is the food because it seems pretty ok from the menus, but maybe it is the soap from bath-times? Or it could just possibly be due to the new environment.

In any case, this is what we are doing to reclaim control of her current condition.

We are trying to cut down her intake of processed food, which is a bit hard because she is quite fond of sweets & we often dine out for weekends! Also trying to let her eat more food rich in essential fatty acids e.g. soyabean, fish like salmon & tuna etc.

Lil Pumpkin has always been having luke-warm showers since the boy bathes her every night. It would probably be a different story if she bathed with me ;p Having hot showers is a no-no when you have eczema, but I really enjoy relaxing in one. To counter this, I try to have quick showers. Anyway, it is kinda "cruel" to bathe her in cold water but if her condition worsens, we will have to do it. Currently, she's using Cetaphil... but I'm asking the boy to get Aveeno when he goes to Melbourne next week. He has stopped using a loofah to soap her up, and just lathers up the soap with his hands to avoid extra friction on her fragile skin.

We have a routine of moisturising her in the morning and after her night baths. I also put in a big bottle of moisturiser in her shower bag for the teacher to apply on her after baths in the preschool. We have now taken to moisturising her throughout the day using Cetaphil cream and Physiogel lotion. The boy has just ordered in some bottles of Physiogel AI lotion that will be more effective in nourishing her dry skin, and regenerating her skin's protective barrier.

Long-term use of topical steroid can thin the skin so we use a hydro-cortisone cream that she used before only when it is mild to severe. We are using it now and already, I can see some discolouration in the her skin :/ If the itching is really bad, we give her Zyrtec. On a side note, personally I use Protopic. It is steroid-free but is quite "new" {approved by FDC only in 2001} so not using it on Lil Pumpkin yet in case there's side effects on kids not known yet.

There is only so much we can do to help Lil Pumpkin deal with her eczema. A lot of controlling her eczema problem will rely on her. As with the wrong diet, scratching will worsen the condition since a bacterial infection might occur. Plus scratching causes the skin to be even more irritated which causes more itching. Vicious cycle! Even though Lil Pumpkin is at a tender age, we try to teach her to understand about her eczema problem, and explain to her why she cannot eat this, touch that or scratch her skin. It is a life-long problem and she needs to learn from young. Sometimes she gets it, but sometimes she really just can't help scratching the itch and crying because she know she shouldn't. Breaks my heart to see her like that :(

Do your kids have eczema? How are you dealing with it?

P.S. Anything discussed here is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please discuss with your medical practitioner if you have any concerns.


Sif Dal said...

Hi, my eldest had eczema - his was quite bad. One thing our dermatologist said was to avoid bathing every day because it strips the skin of oils. We actually didn't even bathe him weekly (of course, he had a 'cat wash' with a flannel every day, but no soaking in water). When we did bath him, we used QV oil to try and maintain his skin pH.

His eczema subsided but what replaced by viral psoriasis - which required a tar treatment.

I hope your daughter's eczema get better!

Unknown said...

Aw, I'm sorry. I've had eczema all my life too, its rough. My best advice is skip the soap except for once a week or unless she's really dirty that day. And amber and hazelwood jewelry really helps me. It sounds weird but I've personally seen amazing results from it. I use Aveeno and Cetaphil too, I love them both. Oh and you can order the hazelwood jewelry from hazelaid.com its not the best quality but it works and its cheap. :)

Becky from BeckyandJames.com said...

Poor little one! None of my children suffer Eczma, but I remember one of my cousins who had it so badly he would often have to wear pressure bandages for weeks on end and had many stays in hospital.

Redcliffe Style said...

That would be hard for the little one. We are lucky not to have this in our family, but my cousin does and it struggling with managing it. I'm going to send your link to her. Rachel x

Mandie said...

My little one has eczema, too. It's not ever gotten really bad, but she does have flare-ups here and there. It seemed to come out of nowhere and it's not on either side of our families. Lots and lost of moisturising seems to work best here. I hope it clears up for your little one soon x

Claire T said...

Our wee girl suffers occasionally from food related eczema. After a really frustrating period we found she reacts to canola which is in pretty much every processed food you can think of and a whole lot that I never even knew had canola. We have done a five month removal of canola from her diet with the occasional blip from eating out... So many restaurants are unable to tell you what oil they use... And she has started eating a couple of canola containing favourites (goldfish crackers) with no ill effects. I wish you could get Aveeno in Singapore. We love it and it really soothes the irritation better than cetaphil.

Ai Sakura said...

Sif Dal: thanks! We are thinking of not bathing her when she does not go school..

Camille: thanks for the tips. This is the first time I'm hearing about hazelwood. Will be reading up more on this :)

Becky: yes, it can get kinda bad.. but thank goodness your little ones don't have it :)

Rachel: Sure! There's a lot of helpful tips in the comments too which I think will benefit your cousin

MsMandie: yes, the unexpected flare-ups are so tiring! hope your lil one doesn't have too many of those

ClaireTet: Glad you found out the cause of her eczema :) We tried not giving her eggs (common allergen) these past few days and think it helped a bit. Or it might be the other stuff we are doing too haha

Stacy said...

Eczema is getting so common among little kids. :( My doc says it's mainly food and the more-polluted environment we live in.

I've had it since young but it has improved loads with age (rather a lot of age hehe)

Do continue with all the stuff you're doing!

EssentiallyJess said...

No echsma here, although I did have it randomly whenninwas pregnant with Bailey, and had to use steroid cream on my arms.

I've got a feeling my cousins wife sells some kind of miracle cream, so I'll ask her for you. I know occassionally these things turn up.

oomph. said...

you know, my sister and i both had a bout of adult eczema in recent years. we were totally fine all these years. my sister had it really bad and went thru all the stages of steroids. for me it started on my eyelids, then my arms, and now i get a flare up on my hands and feet once in a while. it's TERRIBLE! sorry your daughter is going thru this.


tahlia @ the parenting files said...

i am trying goats milk products on Little E. Not sure if it is working but I am trying to stick to natural products


Ames said...

Eczema sucks! I had it randomly when I was a baby but don't get it now.
Lufflump gets it occasionally which we treat with a 1.0 steroid cream and he doesn't use any soap products. In winter we try and keep his skin moisturised using the most natural moisturiser we can find.
Luckily he hasn't had it for a while so hopefully he's grown out of it!
Good luck with your girl's eczema.

MarcieMom said...

Saw your tweet of this post as it got captured in my tweeter daily paper. Do drop by eczemablues.com - lots of advice on skincare and for eczema. Hope eczema will improves :)

jardelle said...

Greetings my lovely bloggers....i missed all of you...your new follower

Oliveoylz said...

My boy had mild eczema at a localised spot on his calf when he was a pre-schooler. Thankfully, it has now vanished after several visits to the paed. Poor baby. Hope the cause of her flare-ups can be determined quickly. She's a brave li'l gal. *hugs to baby*

Ai Sakura said...

Stacy: mine has thankfully improved over the years too

Jess: thanks for the link!!

oomph: hmm that's rare! Eyelids are so delicated, I'm glad it all subsided already..

Tahlia: ah yes! She's been taking her present milk for about 1 yr+ so don't think it's due to that but I heard refraining from cow's milk helps sometimes.

Ames: thanks! good luck with lufflump too! hope sesame doesn't get it!

Marcie: thanks for the link! will check it out

jardelle: nice of you to drop by :) keep in touch!

Oliveolyz: thanks! :) let me know if you come down to Singapore sometimes. Maybe we can meet up for coffee at Ikea while the kids play haha

~Summer~ said...

Oh dear, I don't have any tips to share but I just wanna show some love and hope lil pumpkin gets better soon yeah! Mummy must be strong too!

An Apel a Day said...

I found that giving my kids probiotics when they had break outs really helped! It wouldn't help over night. But a week later it was pretty much clear.

irene myme said...

My girl also have eczema when she was about 3-4 years old, now (12yrs old) it seem the eczema had quite gone away. Like you, we done everything that is needed to prevent the skin flared up. For my girl, we know that she cant have too much milk & peanut in her diet, even extra dosage of milk chocolate will cause outbreak. For showers, we uses QV gentle wash (i.e. soap free) everyday until now, so far no problem surfaced. For medication, we did not apply any steroid cream on her but we do let her have 1year of oral chinese medication during the early stage. Ohh ya.. most importantly (for me), I dont bring my girl to swimming pool, as chlorine will also contribute to the flare up. ;)