Recently I was looking through old photos and I came across some of Micaiah when he was suffering with eczema. It really made me realise how much progress his skin has made, it also make me realise how much he was suffering. I started a Insta Story video and shared a few photos and my experience in dealing with eczema. I was shocked that people reached out and was glad I spoke about it. I decided that this week my blog will be about dealing with eczema to help other parents who may also be suffering.
I will share some images of Micaiah’s skin when it was at its worst state, I will talk about creams I’ve used, steroids and diet. So if you have a child with eczema continue reading or share this post with someone who may benefit from it.
So a quick family background history, I suffered with eczema, so did my partner and Ahaziah. However, I never seen or heard of eczema like Micaiah’s. At 3 months he was diagnosed with eczema. The doctor prescribed hydrocortisone which is a mild steroid, he didn’t suggest any emollient or anything to put in the bath straight to a steroid at 3 months which I thought was strange. The eczema would clear up then flare back up and it began to spread all over his body.
Micaiah was a clingy baby, he was breastfed and I could not leave him with anyone because he would cry till he would work up himself, get hot, start scratching then bleed. It was a loose loose situation. His eczema used to weap, it would get infected, it would wake him up at nights and it was draining for both of us.
Micaiah has so many different forms of eczema and some I had never seen before and it was all over this body, head to toe. After weeks and weeks of going to the GP they finally referred me to a GP Dermatologist. In the next section I will talk about some of the emollients I have used. It is important to remember though, every child is different and what may have worked for me may not work for you but trail and error is worth trying.
This cream was really good for about 7 months then after that his skin got used to it and it was no longer effective.
I love the smell of Aveeno, it worked wonders on Ahaziah’s eczema. Unfortunately Micaiah hated it, he would cry each time I put it on him. I even tried again a few months later and he still hated it.
This was really good as well. It is very thick and greasy this is what I was given once seen by dermatologist. This is also when I realised thats for Micaiah’s skin ointments are better than creams.
This is very good as a soap substitute and a daily moisturiser.
Currently this is what we have been using for well over a year now. This was recommended when he started seeing dermatologist and Kings.
This is what I use to wash him with in the bath. The regime of washing with this, applying an emollient, then steroids really help.
As you can see we have been through a range of creams and these were the best ones that worked with Micaiah’s skin.
Unfortunately steroids is one of the best ways to deal with eczema. Steroids are not good for the skin, they thin it out and for the long term it is not safe to use. However the pain eczema causes sufferers need it. Just imagine a child in pain due to eczema and they can’t tell you. When my eczema flares up as an adult its an irritable uncomforable pain. Micaiah was on steroids for at least 1.5 years non stop. However he hasn’t used any steroids for months, even though he still has bad eczema he doesn’t need it.
The idea of prolonged use of steroids scare me and I hate the effects it eventually have. However when seeing your child suffering you really want to do anything to take it away. I learnt how to use steroids safely by using the fingertip method based on the age of the child which is reassuring. Its also important not to stop steroid applications suddenly. Slowly wean off, so reducing the strength first, then once a day, then every other day etc. If you stop treatment of steroids suddenly it means the bottom half of the skin hasn’t healed and will flare up which will mean longer use of steroids. Micaiah was using steroids daily for a solid year then after a while he didn’t need it. I haven’t applied steroids in months. His skin is not the best but it doesn’t need it. His hands are still the worst area.
The dermatologist prescribed these ointments to wean him off the steroids but when I found out they were stronger than steroids I stopped using them.
I did try natural remedies and they did help but it was a very slow progress I feel this was because his skin was so severe at the time. It wasn’t fair on him to continue with natural remedies when his skin was so bad. These are some of the natural things I tried.
I went to the health food shop and brought oats and use to make him a oat bath. I would put a handful of oats in a sock and let the bath water run though the sock. This would help soften the water.
I also brought this product which was good and gentle on his face. I also picked up some sunflower oil.
I ordered these products which were really good swell. The daily nourishing spray smells beautiful and you can spray it over the skin. I tried the outbreak repair cream but he didn’t like it. He would cry when I applied it and he had a bit of a reaction.
My cousin made him a cream using coconut oil, lavender oil, olive oil and shea butter. Again it was really good but a slow progress. After that I started experimenting with different oils and making my own creams but his skin was not repairing and it was causing discomfort.
Finally the GP dermatologist referred him to Kings dermatologist department. He had medications for allergies, he had a allergy test and when they saw his skin they decided he should be wrapped. Wrapping is a process that involves applying emollient, steroids then a cotton bandage to hold the moisture for longer. This really made a big difference and helped clear up his eczema.
Due to Micaiah’s skin being so bad her was offered a blood test as oppose to a skin test to test for allergies. The results came back and he was allergic to everything. Dairy, gluten, wheat, nut, oat. They decided to eliminate a few things from his diet at a time. Started off with dairy and no tomatoes. Micaiah used to flare up after eating cooked or raw tomatoes. For about 4 months he was on this diet and his skin was Okay, it wasn’t getting better but it wasn’t getting worse, he then got an ear infection and then flared up. At that point I just got annoyed and said I will give him whatever he wants. I decided to give him oat milk and he was fine. After 1 year and a half at a follow up appointment I was told that if a child has eczema they test positive for everything anyway.
After trial and error and taking things away from his diet I noticed Micaiah hated having different food from anyone. He would take food out his brothers plate and eat what he wanted to eat so then I decided to give him whatever, if/ when he flares up I will just treat with steroids. Tomatoes and dairy was something he struggled with but now his body stopped rejecting it.
Now Micaiah eats and drinks everything. I don’t give him cows milk as it is something we have decided to give up collectively as a family. Now he drinks almond and coconut milk. Micaiah loves cheese and yoghurt. He eats raw and cooked tomatoes. Now Micaiah is happier than ever. The only thing Micaiah does not eat is egg but he will eat baked eggs.
There is something about sweet Jamaica that worked wonders for his skin. The sun, the heat, the sea water. He came back after 10 days and his skin was beautiful. It wasn’t gone but there was a significant difference. While in Jamaica I used to aloe vera and rubbed in his scalp and skin. 2 days after returning from Jamaica his skin went back to square one!
How I coped as a parent
This is Micaiah in hospital after a flare up from drinking cows milk. He is just so happy, and that was what got me through, the fact that he smiled through the worse times. As long as he had me he was fine. A lot of times I felt discouraged because anything can cause a flare up, he skin would do so well then all of a sudden weather would change then back to square one. I had weekly appointments at dermatologist and I would always be worried what they would say. People used to come up to me in the street and would recommend different products. I understand they all had good intentions but as a parent it can make you feel like your not doing enough.
Note to parents
Don’t feel discouraged, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Micaiah is 3 years old now and his skin is manageable. He doesn’t use steroids but I have them just as a back up. He continues to use emulsifying ointment and dermal 500 in the bath and I cream him twice a day. Weather change can cause his skin to flare. Heat can cause a flare so I generally keep the house cool and during the summer I strip him down. I thought I would share my experience because I went to hell and back battling with it and hopefully if you are struggling with dealing with a child with severe eczema you now know that you are not alone.
Here are some recent pictures I took this morning to show the progress. It took a while but we got here.