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Moderately severe atopic eczema alternative/conventional treatment?

(10 Posts)
mamasunshine Mon 03-Oct-11 14:55:53

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with going down the alternative route of treating eczema, and did it work? My ds2 is suffering quite badly to the extent that only his nose/cheeks and chin is free from it. We've been using stronger steroids each time, regular antibiotics for infections and copious amounts of emollients.

We've seen the dermatologist today who has chaged emollients and given us more to try to find one that is right. Given us Elocon steroid to use for up to 2 weeks and dermol 600 for bath.

But during the time we've been waiting to see dermatologist we've also started seeing herbalist/homeopath, osteopath and nutritional therapist. He's got quite a restrictive diet due to allergies and intolerances. He takes multiple probiotics, vits/mins, fish oils. We do all the basic no soaps/detergents etc/avoid allergens. But still no real difference.

The herbalist suggested that we don't use the steroids unless abs needed i.e itching/can't sleep etc. Since i took my son out of nursery 10 or so days ago we've managed to dcrease steroid use dramatically. He's still covered in eczema, but it's not bothering him so much as in little itching/he's sleeping etc. So I had planned to just keep going like this until something like the accupuncture/something helps?! Is this likely to work? Or should I just start this new treatment plan given by the dermatologist?

I'm exhausted by the constant battle with it for the last 12 months or so, and can't see through the mess/stress of trying to figure it out every day on little sleep. So can anyone tell me to stick with the alternative route we've started down?


eragon Mon 03-Oct-11 15:57:56

I am not a fan of alternative treatments, I would contact the national ezcema society.

are you keeping the the dust mite levels low? with anti dustmite bedding etc?

food wise, who are you seeing regarding the food allergies? can you get reffered to a kids allergy clinic? if you want to go down that route, ring the anaphylaxis campaign helpline.

steriods are normally pretty low dose for kids, unless huge flare up, and are although there are horror stories with regard my childhood, I am in my 40s btw, todays steriod treatments are approached with more caution.
Avoidance of a mild steriod to keep control, may lead to further flare ups, = stronger steriods and a load of antibiotics.

what is your current daily moisterizing routine?
how do you change that for flare ups?

have you been offered wet wrapping?

have to kept in touch with your dermo to indicate that no improvement so far?

mamasunshine Mon 03-Oct-11 16:59:01

Thank you for the reply eragon. I think I'm feeling confused as my family are very pro natural therapy, but I'm feeling it's just not working. I've decided to go with the steroids etc as I'm sure they will calm it down and it's just started looking a whole lot worse this afternoon with the heat.

Using all anti allergy bedding/fully enclosed mattress cover etc. We've also laminated over the carpets in the house (we rent), clean regularly (with ds as far away as possible).

I'm speaking to a nutritionist with the York clinic and we had food intolerance testing done with them. He's also had allergy testing done with peadiatrician who said of a few things we had him tested for sesame he's def. allergic to.

Currently moisturising 3-4x a day, we've been using a full tub of epaderm a week. Then applying steroid on 15-20mins after emoliient. Bathing in oilatum daily, applying steroid straight after, then emollient. He flares up as soon as I remove steroids, so it's pretty much been constant. AntiB's every 3/4 weeks.

Today was our 1st appointment with dermatologist, we were just offered the change in creams etc. A nurse will be getting in touch to go over everything, then seeing dermatologist again in 8 weeks.

I suppose I feel kindof let down by the alternative approach. And I have been very worried about the damage of the steroid usage to his skin (he's 2 yo).

eragon Mon 03-Oct-11 23:43:51

the steriods will be a low or a controlled short term dose.
if its any help, my son needed lots of steriod skin treatments for his first five years, then as with most allergic march children, his skin improved but his environmental allergies got worse. he had his fair share of infections and anit bs. lots of illness as well. low/poor weight gain. poor sleep. etc.

he hasnt needed steriod creams since then, and has no skin damage/thinning etc. I dont think this is a big concern, the repeated infections are more a concern, and need addressing if its that frequent.

I have damage on my skin, due to my childhood mishandling of ezcema in the 70s and things have really changed since then.

I think a pead is not the expert that is needed in this situation. if you have got food allergies you do need to see a immunoligist. can you go to yr gp and ask to be reffered to one? ( if yr gp wont help, ask the next and the next until you get more help.)

it could be possible that your child has more allergies enviro or food that need investigating as this might be causing the problem. its all very well having a pead do the tests , giving the correct advice after the results come in is a bit hit and miss depending on their training. some are ok, some have just had to pick up a bit of info on allergies due to the massive , sudden amount of allergic children coming through their doors.

nutrionists (again not educated on ige allergies ) are not that much cop for those with severe ige allergies, and intolerence testing is hazy , was it a test for IgG ? they are considered unreliable. what intol symptoms does he have ? and what ige ones?
have heard good and bad things about york testing.

As your child has ige taking a untrained persons advice isnt the best really. you do need a kids allergy clinic if you can get near one, to look at your child as a holistically. they will look at his reaction history, testings and their results and support you with the food side of things and the skin problems.
your gut instinct that they are not helping is a sound one. listen to it.

it does sound as if you do need further advice on the skin situation, checked for fungel infection? and are you as hygenic as possible with the creams?
3/4 times a day sounds normal enough, its hard work really, can you add another one in the daily routine?

are you a good label reader, avoiding foods with may contain traces ?

the multiple allergic child is a complicated life, here is my sons current enviro list, dustmite, cat, dog, hay fever, tree pollen, mold.
as for pets , we have a rabbit outside,........and for home, its much like yrs, wooden flooring, leather furniture, toys in boxs, damp dusted room , allergy bedding, pollen and dustmite filter in room, bedding boil washed once a week, teddies frozen then washed, clothes tumbled dryed . not hung in garden or on rads. due to pollen and dustmite. ....all this has melted our plastic over the years!

not sure if this is helpful, but might give you some food for thought!

greenbananas Tue 04-Oct-11 07:26:43

mamasunshine, it's awful when your little one has eczema! I can understand you wanting to try absolutely anything that might possibly do any good. However, I would be very wary about using 'alternative' therapists for allergy testing...

I agree with eragon that you need to see a medical allergy specialist. General paediatricians do not necessarily have the specific expertise to deal with allergy issues. Not all dermatologists are helpful either, as they do not always admit the role of allergy in causing eczema - but it's good that your dermatologist is trying to find an emollient that works for your DS, as different creams suit different children. Some of the emollients our GP prescribed made DS's eczema worse, and he screamed every time I applied them, but we did eventually find one that suited him.

I also agree about the steroid cream. It's better to clear up a bad attack quickly using steroid cream so that you avoid needing even stronger steroid cream and antibiotics as well. I hated using steroids, so at first I was much too sparing when I applied the creams, but the good advice I got from these allergy boards was not to be afraid of using them.

DS had dreadful eczema when he was tiny (and I cried about it a lot!) We were 'lucky' in that his eczema was related to food allergies, and it's much, much easier to avoid food triggers than environmental things like dust-mites etc. We do have to avoid all traces of the foods he is allergic to, but his skin is now perfect (!) and does not seem to have been damaged at all by the heavy steroid use when he was a baby.

Good luck with all this.

mamasunshine Tue 04-Oct-11 07:36:27

Thank you eragon, that really has been VERY helpful to me smile Especially knowing that your ds has not had any problems!

I'll ask my GP for a referral when we're in soon. The peadiatrician was very hazy when giving me the results hmm He at 1st said he's not allergic to anything, which I was completely shocked at! I expained his reaction to sesame, as soon as it touched his lip ds came out with instant big red blisters all around his mouth, which spread like wild fire all down his jaw/neck. Luckily I'd been given some chlorphenamine which I gave to him immediately and watched it go down slowly. The peadiatrician then changed and said actually his results say he is allergic hmm

Ds also has quite severe digestive reactions to even the tiniest bit of wheat or cow's dairy. If he accidently has some we know, he has diarrhea which blisters/burns his bottom within an hour/2 max, this lasts for a day or 2 and is very painful for him. But he doe not have this reaction to goats dairy/soya/gluten, yet everyone's been going on about if he has a problem with cow's/wheat these others will be a prob too. (this is the peadiatrician too).

I've also noticed that tomatoes and peanuts can flare up his skin when it is nad. And more recently when he's been eating pineapple and oranges his hands/wrists have been going red and itching.

As I've been seeing these reactions is it enough to get a referral to an immunologist or allergist? Even though the peadiactricien did some RAST testing? And apparently only sesame came back positive (after me being highly sceptical?) I'm pretty posiitive he has a problem with dust mite, but that wasn't tested for.

Yes the York testing was IgG and I know its not greatly reliable/backed up eith research etc - just desperate mummy here!

I try to be good with the creams i.e. have been using a metal spoon to take creams out of tub etc.

I am a good label reader (mostly, I have had a few surprises such as cow's milk in chicken?!)

Again thank you for your time, I really appreciate it smile

mamasunshine Tue 04-Oct-11 07:37:52

Thanks greenbananas smile

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Tue 04-Oct-11 08:01:44

Mama - I'm sure you have more experience than I do wrt eczema, but just reading your last post about pineapple/oranges we have found that it can upset dd's skin, but only from it being so acidic that it irritated the already site bits iyswim?

We finally got to see a dermatologist for DD but quite honestly they were a complete waste of time. Hardly looked at DD, then prescribed some diprobase and dermol 600 for the bath telling us what we were using was rubbish. We find with DD that we need a variety of emolliants to switch every couple of weeks. Our most useful ones have been dexerol(sp?), unguentum m, e45 and e45 bath. We also use the 0.5 steroids cream when we can't control it.

It is very wearing, I hope you find some improvement soon smile

BikeRunSki Tue 04-Oct-11 08:25:39

I was the the same as the OP's DS2 as a child- actually probably not quite as bad.

My mum saved up and took me to see a Harley Street Homeopath - he was a GP, Dermatologist, Nutritionist and Homeopath and also ran "The Nature Cure Clinic" somewhere in Marylebone I think.

It was slow, but gradual and postitive progress. He didn't so much cut out foods (although reduced wheat and cow's milk considerably), but introduced lots of salad, natural yogurt and muesli (his recipe, which we mixed up at home, lots of seed). Also, some homeopathic remedies, which I seem to remember were specific to me rather than the condition (there is one I remember only prescribed for blue-eyed blondes). There were definitley no ointments, which he deemed to be irritating to skin conditions,

I was about 8 or 9 when I first saw him and I think it took about 6 months for my skin to clear up, with no significant outbreaks since I was 13, From about 15 on - certainly since I went to uni at 18 - I have eaten well but "normally".

As an adult (and scientist) I am very sceptical about homeopathy, but I can;t deny that it helped my younger self. I realise that this is one anecdote about one case, but I wanted to give you a postive story of eczema and alternative therapies. I realise too, that your choice of practitioners may be limited too if you are not in London.

pinkorkid Tue 04-Oct-11 17:06:10

mama, we don't have experience of alternative treatments but just wanted to pass on advice we have received re using steroid creams from experienced allergy nurse: that you need to carry on using the steroid for a week to two weeks after the skin appears to have healed. She spoke of a period of hidden healing and also emphasised the need to reduce use of steroids gradually to avoid the immediate flare up some children experience when steroid creams are stopped suddenly. Her advice was that it was often better to hit the problem hard with a higher strength steroid initially then to reduce either the strength of the steroid or the frequency with which it is applied or potentially both.

Another possibility is that there is infection present if not responding to steroid - again from our experience infection in eczema is not always obvious and it may be necessary to take skin swabs to confirm or rule out.

The reactions to foods you describe sound quite severe to me - I would want more reassurance that not in anaphylactic range. Could you ask for referral to allergy specialist perhaps?

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