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baby eczema

(58 Posts)
Bee Sun 13-May-01 17:52:29

My daughter is 5 months old and seems to be suffering from eczema. It has got worse with the heat but is also there in the cooler weather. I don't use washing detergent and she wears cotton, anyone got any helpful hints on what to use to ease this. The doctor will just prescribe steroid cream and I am loathe to do this. I suffered very badly as a child so I know how painfully itchy it can be. Any help gratfully received.

Janh Sun 13-May-01 18:45:50

my daughter (now 16) had eczema quite badly as a baby. (luckily it has gone now.) we used to put sudocrem on it - it seems to be quite cooling. i have always used detergent and fabric rinse for sensitive skins, and always give my laundry an extra rinse. bicarb in the bath works well for chicken-pox itching so may help with eczema although it is drying.
you can get a huge tub of aqueous cream from the chemist for £2 or £3, my husband gets very dry skin and some psoriasis and he finds it very helpful.
while i understand your reluctance to use steroid cream, the one they give you for babies is very weak, and you can use it for a couple of days (very thinly) to get rid of a bad patch and then try the aqueous cream to keep it away; the only real no-no is using it on broken skin.
have you heard of cotton-on? they make lovely clothes for kids (and adults) with eczema. if you don't know it i'll try to find my catalogue and give you the details.

Midge Sun 13-May-01 19:18:27

My 13 month old son has eczema. You should be able to get aqueous cream and emulsifying ointment ( very useful) on prescription, so no need to pay. I too have been very reluctant to use steroid cream but needs must when the patches are bad.
Steroid creams should be used for a reasonable length - 7 days for a short treatment even if the patch clears quickly, up to 14 days for bad areas, but leave at least 2 weeks between treatments on any one area.

Hope this helps.

Chairmum Sun 13-May-01 20:31:21

You could try bathing her in an oatmeal bath. Put some oatmeal into a muslin nappy and tie the corners. Hang the 'bag' over the taps and let the hot water run through the bag. The resulting bath is very soothing.

Also, one of the local GPs uses homeopathic remedies very successfully for eczema. I've been amazed at the results in a friend's daughter.

Emmagee Sun 13-May-01 21:56:47

Bee, there have been a few other discussions on this on this site, do a 'search board' for messages regarding excema.

We found a herbal cream 'Calendula' very useful for calming it down - can get it in Boots and other chemists. Much of the 'alternative' thinking re-excema is that it is caused by an imbalance elsewhere in the body which works its way to the surface, homeopathy will look at what might be triggering it and deal with that where steroids merely treat the surface - also they 'supress' the problem from coming out and as soon as you stop using them it just starts up again. I would recommend you go and see a homeopath.

Fish Sun 13-May-01 22:34:44

Dear Bee, if you're very unlucky and things get a lot worse (we had a bad year starting at four months) you may want to consider Chinese Herbal Medicine. We were at our wits end and very distressed, otherwise we too might have tried the longterm homeopathic route. CHM seemed to work amazingly well and fast, with no discernible side effects, though the pong of the soup (to mix with breastmilk/formula) and the appalling nappies were pretty scary. Good luck.

Janh Mon 14-May-01 09:21:50

midge - because we buy the aqueous cream for an adult i forgot babies can have it free!
do you really have to use steroids for 7 days? if i was told that it must have gone straight out the other ear.

Numbat Mon 14-May-01 10:57:43

Bee, if the problem continues you should contact/join the eczema society, www.eczema.org. They have an information helpline 0870 241 3604, and produce detailed booklets on the handling of eczema. The stories in their quarterly magazine always reduce me to tears, but ther's lots of useful information. My daughter has had a terrible time with eczema, although we too have had a dramatic improvement with Chinese medicine.

Bee Mon 14-May-01 13:13:12

Thank you to all for those really useful tips. I will try the homeopathic route and also investigate the Chinese medicine, the oatmeal sounds a good one too.JanH, I would be gratful for details of the cotton clothing catalogue.I will let you know how we progress.

Emmagee Mon 14-May-01 18:59:50

I use Oatmeal for myself just for very dry skin and it is amazing....i just hate rinsing out the soggy oats from the muslin afterwards! Very lazy!

Blackbird Mon 14-May-01 19:42:30

Now that the sunny weather is here (I hope) can anyone recommend a sun cream suitable for children with eczema ? I tried Boots and Johnsons last year both claimed to be suitable but seemed to make it worse. I do resort to long sleeve shirts most of the time but it seems such a shame.

Chairmum Mon 14-May-01 20:27:01

Roc sunblock is hypoallergenic so that may be a possibilty. It's sometimes prescribed by doctors or you can buy it from chemists.

Midge Mon 14-May-01 20:47:11

Janh, the gp we saw was most insistant that steroids should be used for a "substantial" period, but then I did get him to go through everything twice because I was so tired!

Emmagee, I shall definately look into homeopathy. I have become increasingly disillusioned with the trad route, I am finding, as you said , that once the steroids are stopped the area just flares up again and I hate keep applying steroids, it seems futile.

Coral Mon 14-May-01 20:50:32

MAWS sun protection has worked quite successfully without aggravating my daughter's eczema for the past couple of years. It's marketed as being suitable for use with dry skin and eczema and comes in high factors - 25, 35 and 45. The only place though which I have been able to find it is Sainsburys. Might be worth a try.

Pj Mon 14-May-01 23:32:53

My 1 year old is really suffering. E45 make a good non-irritant sunblock (factor 50)which I have used on his very sensitive skin with good results. It is especially for sensitive skin and infants with eczema.Apparently Dr Hauschka also make a very good one.
With the temperature being so high it seems cruel to keep my son dressed in his normal clothes ie long sleeves, gloves, long trousers tucked into socks. But if I strip him down he scrathes/bites the exposed flesh - should I let him scratch or cover him up and let him overheat? How do other parents cope with the scratching? Some days I get so frustrated and angry. I try not to let my son see this but the eczema has been constant from 6 weeks despite following all the medical advice/special diets etc and I just want to say to him "For Gods sake stop scratching" then I feel like the worst mother in the world and my frustration deepens.
While on the subject of eczema, has anyone been prescribed Nutramigen - a soya-free formula for babies allergic to soya and dairy? We are about to try it out and I'd be interested in anyones experiences.
A last word on steroids, I use them alot on my sons skin, I hate it but it keeps things just about under control on a good day. I have tried to leave them off but his skin is so poor within a few hours that I resort to them again. Eczema is a really difficult condition to cope with on a daily basis, anyone feel the same?

Janh Tue 15-May-01 08:33:38

pj, i am very glad for your poor son's sake that it has cooled down again - must be dreadful for him (and you!). do you have anything from cotton on? some of their clothes are nice and thin (and i think they all have flat seams.) could you keep him in a bath/paddling pool with nice tepid water when it's really hot?

bee - i've had a ruumage and found a catalogue - i think it must be an old one as it doesn't have a website! phone no is 01225 336 559. address:
cotton comfort (NOT cotton on any more apparently)
pO box 2406
bath
ba1 5zd.
they have general eczema information too.
i do hope this is current info, i'll go and have another rummage in a bit!

Debsb Tue 15-May-01 10:28:31

PJ we had the same problem anf=d eventually got referred to a pediatrician. Pls be Very careful with the steriod creams. They thin the skin and cause something called striation if used to excess. My hiusband suffered very badly from exzma in his youth, and his skin now takes a very long time to heal and looks scaly in patches (he's lovely really). The tips from the pd were as follows:-
Baths - try for at least 2 baths a day, and make sure they are in the water for at least 10 minutes. This loosens the patches of exczma & allows the creams etc to penetrate beneath them. Also, try a moisturiser in the bath, but NO soap. We use emulsiderm, which seems to do the trick but you may need to try a few before you get the right one.
Moisturise - this seems to be the key here. We had to completley cover our daughter 3 times a day (yuk), and we still do it morning & night. Use an ointment instead of a cream if the exczma is bad, it is much better. We use diprobase - gooky but good. Again, you may need to try put a few. Try to avoid the ones with lanolin, this can cause allergies.
Hydrocortisone creams (1% I think) are ok for long term use, and don't cause thinning of the skin. Most usefule when the exczma is under control as you can use it as soon as you spot a flare up.
Steriod creams should not be used for longer than 7 days at a time, and there should be 14 days in between each usage. We now use Fucidin H, but have only had to use it twice this year, and each time is cleared up the problem in about 3 days (in conjunction with all the above).
Allergies - our daughter was tested for common allergies, and was found to be very allergic to house dust, and mildly allergic to dairy products. The dairy is easier to get rid of than the dust! Try to avoid hairy cuddly toys. Anything that cannot go in the washing-machine should go overnight into the frezzer (in a plastic bag) every 2 weeks).
Soap - avoid all soap and soap products wherever possible. Don't use fabric conditioner. We use diprobase cream instead of soap in the bath when she is esp. dirty. We do use dove soap for handwashing, and she seems to be able to tolerate that.
We were also prescribed Vallergan for night time. This is a combined anti-histamine & sedative ad is just wonderful. Stopped all the scratching at night & we had our first nights sleep for years. We did have to stop ourselves using it when the exczma had died down though, as the promise of unbroken nights were v. seductive (see 'doping your children').
You should be able to find out a lot of this information from the exczma society or via the 'net. We found that our daughters exczma was controllable, but it did take hard work and at least 6 - 8 months efore we really understood what we were doing, when to use which creams etc. She now has flare ups which generally don't last longer than a week, and when they start we get very strict about the regime again.
Other things - swimming - a lot of kids are allergic to the chlorine, although apparently some kids get better with it, just one to watch.
sorry this is a long one but its quite an involved subject.
Oh, cotton clothes are a must. Kids stuff are good also.

Pj Tue 15-May-01 11:22:32

Thanks for the responses to my message. Debsb, I have read the Eczema in childhood book and the author David Atherton also advocates baths twice a day as does my gp. Unfortunately my son scratches like mad in the bath. I use fairly tepid water, no soap only prescribed products for eczematous skin, even mitts taped onto his hands but the water still drives him mad. It breaks my heart to see him suffer like that especially when most babies enjoy bathtime so much. I moisturise my babys skin 4 or 5 times a day with aqueous cream followed by emulsifying ointment. Again as soon as I undress him to put the creams on he scratches himself to bits. His mitts are permanently taped on which is really stopping him develop any manual dexterity and he is now discovering ways to pull them off. Our home is pretty dust-free having followed the usual advice - freezing furry toys, no carpets etc, I dont know where to go from here... I know steroids can do harm if over-used, my husband too has damaged skin from steroid use but they seem to be the only thing to make a difference. Help!

Rozzy Tue 15-May-01 12:37:32

Message withdrawn

Debsb Tue 15-May-01 13:03:11

Pj - have you tried different moisturising creams? One of my friends was using aqueos cream and found her daughter got a lot better when she changed to something else (can't remember which one). I do recommend the diprobase though, but the ointment not the cream.
Kids stuff do some lightweight cotton trousers for boys (or girls) as I found it helped to keep it covered up.
Also, if he is scratching a lot at night, discuss using Vallergan with your doctor. I found with our daughter it just seemed to break the 'itch - scratch - itch' cycle and gave the skin some time to heal. The pd also suggested putting her in an overlarge top at night & tying the ends of the sleeves up, they cant undo this in the same way as they can pull off gloves.
I do know someone who used homeopathy very sucessfully, but she did say it got worse before it got better, and you should not use anything else to treat it at the same time. This is what put me off using for my dd, although I may consider trying it now.
Good luck and hope you find some solutions soon.

Pupuce Tue 15-May-01 15:48:34

I would really recommend that you search for the cause of the eczema... as Emmagee says, you are only suppressing the problem by using creams.
My son had eczema when he was 3 months old and 100% breastfed... My homeopath suggested that I "clean" my body with a week-end diet of only raw vegetables and rice (it was hell but worth it!)- my son improved in 2 days - I then dramatically reduced MY dairy intake and he stayed well. When he chose to stop breastfeeding, we had to move to bottle, I tried regular organic and he started again - I then tried goat's milk - NO problem.
He is 17 months old now - has no eczema but I limit his ammount of dairy (or use goat milk and goat's yogourt).
I am pleased I never had to use creams... it could have been dairy or wheat or even something else. It is worth trying to locate the cause - for long term sake.

Good luck !

Aoibh Tue 15-May-01 21:27:34

My 15 month old daughter has had eczema since she was 6 months old. We recently took her to the beach and she had a paddle in the seawater. I noticed her eczema cleared up immediatley the following day. Luckily her type doesn't seem to itch but it looks unsightly. We bath her nightly and cover her with creams, we have tried many varieties but none have really worked. I'm not sure if it was the sea-water or the sun but the difference was amazing

Chelle Wed 16-May-01 06:53:43

Both my husband and 23 month old son have eczema. In the bath/shower they both use Pinetarsol Waterdispersable Bath Oil (made by Ego) or Pinetarsol Bath/Shower cream. Both use sorbolene cream as a moisturiser regularly. Our GP and FIL (who is a medico who also suffers eczema) strongly suggest not wetting the eczema too often as this can cause more inflammation. My son, as a result is not bathed every night. My husdand can't cope with this idea and so does shower every night! Also my husband's eczema does get a lot worse (on his hands) if he is washing his hands a lot (when changing nappies, washing up, doing laudry etc...finds this a good excuse to avoid such situations!)

I have also successfully used a paw-paw ointment (from health food shop) on my son. We do have to use cortisone on him occassionally when he has very bad patches.

Janh Wed 16-May-01 08:45:34

aoibh - i believe psoriasis sufferers are treated at the dead sea..so probably the salt had quite a lot to do with it!
i don't know how much help it would be to someone with itchy and broken skin though. possibly if the raw bits could be healed first...but if plain water is drying, salt water would be worse, you would think.

Numbat Wed 16-May-01 09:10:37

Re baths: there is another eczema discussion somewhere on this site where quite a few people said they thought London's hard water was worsening their eczema and baths were a bad idea. We've found that too. When my daughter's eczema was really bad she needed baths to reduce the chance of infection in her sores and also to soften her skin enough to apply the creams, but now that she's better I find baths definitely make her itchy and give her eczema. I now just give her the occasional shower and use olive oil, and on good days this doesn't make her itch at all.

Re: aqueous cream - a lot of young children find this an irritant to their skin and it's better to use something of better quality.

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