If you or your child is battling eczema, you may be familiar with the following regimen. What we wouldn’t do to find relief for our son!
Eczema Diagnosis: PCP December 2004 @ 18 months old
Initial presentation: It started as a very thin, red line in right popliteal fossa (back of knee.) Initial treatment: Westcort & Elidel; aquaphor/eucerin; Benadryl/Claritin at night. Use thin layer of Topical Steroid (TS) until flare calms down, then use Elidel 1-2x/day.
Main Topical Steroids (TS) used: Mometasone (started 6/22/05 w/ dermatologist), Triamcinolone–thin layer on affected site daily until flare calms down; dermasmoothe on scalp.
Other topical medications tried: Elidel, Protopic, Westcort, Clobetasol, Desoximetasone–thin applications on affected areas 1-2 x daily until calm, then discontinue until the next flare.
Other Medications used: mupiricin, bactroban, Keflex/cephalexin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, Atarax
Moisturizers used: Aquaphor, petroleum jelly, (Bag Balm just recently on hands,) Cetaphil, Vanicream, Cereve, Aveeno, coconut oil, olive oil
Dermatologist: Started 6/22/2005. On 1/16/13, rx was mometasone 2x/day x 2wks, then triamcinolone: Triamcinolone, protopic, or elidel for armpits, groin, and neck; dermasmoothe on scalp; mometasone for body–come back in 2 months. Last office visit was 3/21/2013. On 11/25/13 I tried over the phone to discuss possibility of Brian’s spreading eczema/full body redness as a reaction to the steroids, but a written statement from dermatologist, read by an RN, stated it was not possible for Brian to have what Dr. Rapaport spoke about (topical steroid addiction/withdrawal) “because the steroids used were not that strong.” The nurse said “If he’s red all over, he needs to be on medication.”
Allergy testing: April 9, 2009 (+) cat, milk, dust mites–avoided these allergens;
May 2, 2013(-) (Not Atopic)
Alternative medicine: 5/2013 Naturopathic blood test- sensitive to eggs and fruit-sugar combo– probiotics, fish oils, various remedies. Still taking fish oils (Nordic Naturals) and using UNDA homeopathic preparation for itch. Kept extensive food/activity log. Will follow up with ND again once genetic testing results arrive.
Various Measures for Itch Relief before stopping TS :
Topical and oral medication; ice packs; ice cube massage; cold wet wash cloths; 2 trials of TENs; distraction (x-box, movies, BB shooting, bows/arrows, playing outside, etc.) and anything to occupy hands; deep breathing/visualization; bleach baths—1/8 cup bleach to ¾ tub of water; oatmeal baths; apple cider vinegar; UNDA cream (homeopathic preparation containing horsetail and St. John’s Wort)
Eczema Protocol and Other Extreme Measures:
Eczema prevention checklist/protocol from the National Eczema Association (NEA)
- Moisturize every day.
- Wear cotton or soft fabrics. Avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight clothing.
- Take lukewarm baths and showers, using mild soap or non-soap cleanser
- Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel – do not rub.
- Apply a moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing to “lock in” moisture.
- When possible, avoid rapid changes of temperature and activities that make you sweat.
- Learn your eczema triggers and avoid them.
- Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
- Keep your fingernails short to help keep scratching from breaking the skin.
- Some people with allergies find it helps to remove carpets from their house, and give pets dander treatments.
1) “Space suit” within 3 minutes of bathing (Aquaphor or petroleum jelly)
2) All dye-free, perfume-free, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-recommended products (No good-smelling stuff for us!)
3) Under Armor shirts (recommended by dermatologist) to keep skin cool and wick away sweat
4) Whole-house duct cleaning and air purifier
5) B-dry moisture proofing and healthy home air purification and humidity control
6) No pets, minimal carpeting
8) Followed standard eczema protocol
9) Dust mite covers on all pillows, mattresses, and box spings
10) Use “Allergenie” setting on washer for bedding
11) Diet variations and eliminations
Brian’s skin got better for a little while, then it flared again. Over the years, the flareups lasted longer than the calm periods. He has had to take antibiotics about 3 x/year because of skin infections from the scratching. When he was in first grade, he was so dry, red, and itchy that he needed moisturizing 3x/day. He applied the second coating in the clinic during school and toughed out the questions and the stares as he walked his red, aquaphor-coated body back to class. My heart broke for him, and we desperately searched the internet for more effective treatments, relief for his misery, and answers as to why his eczema grew from a little red itch to a huge painful problem.
Thank God for the internet!