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5-year constant scratching..what do i do?

(31 Posts)
Sandi102 Sat 01-Jan-05 14:08:22

Some of you may know ds (5)had mild eczema from birth. It went away when he was 3 for a year and has come back rather severe the last 12 months. This particular winter has been bad, as chandra has earlier mentioned in another thread.

One thing I would like to cure is his itching. What triggers it? How can I cope with it? The nights are the worst. He itches all over his body. His neck and backs of ears being the worse. Sometimes the ears bleed. His legs are so dry and scarred, because of the constant itching. I use 50/50 liquid soft parafin, but more recently been using avenno, which I love but ds hates it, because after applying it he complains he cannot walk or move his arms. I also give him piriton once in the morning and again at night. Its clearly not working. Would appreciate any advice.

KBear Sat 01-Jan-05 14:28:22

looks like you might have to go with hydrocortisone. This works for my DD, who is also worse at night, probably gets hot. What does your GP say?

Sandi102 Sat 01-Jan-05 14:48:53

Yes, I do use hydrocortisone, but im afraid of the side effects, so i use it every other day, applying a thin layer on skin. GP isnt very helpful. He keeps prescribing piriton and 50/50.

singsong Sun 02-Jan-05 10:29:12

If it is very severe I think you need to try the steroid creams, hydrocortisone or maybe even stronger. Trick to avoiding side effects would be to keep the course of treatment with the steroid cream as short as possible. Use it regularly as directed on packet/by GP to get it under control. Then as soon as things are improved cut down the frequency of steroid cream and then stop altogether, but continuing with the 50/50.
Do you have some oil for the bath? Also you can use aqueous cream (from chemist) instead of soap as it is a cleanser as well as moisturiser. Cover him in it before bath then gently wipe off in the water. Although piriton can help with itch I don’t think it will work in your ds’s case, you need to treat the underlying cause i.e. the dry, cracked skin.

Sandi102 Sun 02-Jan-05 11:44:31

thanks singsong.I think my problem is that I use the steriod cream rather sparingly, rather than the actual amount required to get rid of the exzema patches.

Has anyone ever tried vallegran? Read about it on another thread. I think it helps child to sleep at night, thus wont itch. Is it safe?

Twiglett Sun 02-Jan-05 13:40:28

i know and understand your concern over using steroidal creams .. however I really don't think you are doing your DS any favours by only applying every other day

If you use the hydrocortisone as directed it may help to remove / severly reduce the excema patches hence he will stop scratching .. hence he won't be exacerbating it .. then maybe the moisturising / oils might help keep it at bay

it really is just continual use that will have bad side effects

have you tried elimination diets?

use the creams for a few days .. then once cleared stop ..

Twiglett Sun 02-Jan-05 13:41:22

you can put the hc cream in aqueous cream .. say 50:50 to ensure a truly thin covering


misdee Sun 02-Jan-05 14:11:47

You need to be working towards breaking the itch/scratch cycle.

Go with recomended advice on steroid creams, tapering off after a week, so hopefully the stubborn patches wil lclear up. Short bursts of steroid creams arent going to harm him.

Ask Gp to refer to dermotologist, as they are better at dealer with eczema than most gp's. They should be able to help u find a suitable treatment, but the appointment may take months to come thro.

Try getting some mitten pyjamas from cotton comfort for night time, as i find my dd's scratch more at night, even whilst they are fast asleep.

Vallagen (spelling??) is meant to be very good for eczema sufferers, as piriton can sometimes itstead of making a child drowsey actually make them hyper.

Sandi102 Sun 02-Jan-05 17:40:43

thanks misdee and twiglett. ds goes for allergy testing at the end of this month and after that will be seeing his dermatologist. strangely enough though ds's face was all clear this afternoon. I popped out to ikea (it was madness!! ) and when i came back he had a red patch on his face, right beside his mouth. He ate a shortbread biscuit and some ham on its own. I know..a strange combination.

re. HC cream. I find now, that im using this everyday on the bad patches. it never used to be like this. It was like every other week. perhaps i need a change in HC cream. he's on NC 1%.

mixing the creams are a great idea. I'll try aloe vera and HC mixed as a small sample and see if this helps. Have you heard of SK cream? I hear its good.

Twiglett Sun 02-Jan-05 18:30:43

not actually sure if mixing creams with active ingredients is such a good idea

I think you can mix in aqueous cream because it isn't an active cream .. its just a suspension one (if that makes sense) .. at least I was advised to do this by doctor

I would've thought it might be more likely to be the shortbread than the ham ... have you tried cutting out gluten in his diet??? .. try it for a couple of weeks .. he can still have his favourites I'm sure, eg Sainsbury's do a range of gluten free biscuits including shortbread with jammy bits which are really quite yummy

Chandra Tue 04-Jan-05 10:44:10

Twigglet is right, some creams like Eucerin intensify the effect of other creams (that why it's advised to wait 20 minutes to apply a different cream. Besides... if you mix the HC with another cream like acqueous cream you are actually making the HC less effective, I have noticed that applying less HC than advised only makes longer the time you have to use it and therefore you end up using more HC for a longer time, use it as directed the number of applications is significatively reduced, as once the cycle is broken you only need to maintain the skin moisturised to keep it fine. Otherwise you can end up using HC in a regular basis. However, in some cases children are not really responsive to HC. DS went from 0.5 to 2.5 without a significative improvement, that's why it is so important to see a dermatologist who can "measure" how bad is the problem and prescribe a different treatment if he/she believes it's neccessary.
Hope I am not repeating somebody elese's word here, is 3 am around here and have not read the full thread

Sandi102 Tue 04-Jan-05 20:59:56

not at all chandra. In fact I'll be having a rant tomorrow with his dermatologist, because ds finally got referred and an appt came through for xmas eve (I know!). Anyway I had planned to go, when ds starts vomiting and later was on and off the loo all day, so I cancelled. He has now sent another letter for his first appt to be in April!! I'm sure he's done this on purpose, because we only waited 4 weeks for a referral. I really dont want to have a go at him, but I don't want to wait so long for ds to be seen. I've been waiting for 5 years.

Frizbe Tue 04-Jan-05 21:08:57

This could be a really stupid suggestion, but the guy who plays sam's hubby in Eastenders was on the box the other day, saying he used to have really bad excema, and it was cured when he started yoga? he did say it wasn't for all, but it might be worth a go?? not sure of the science behind this, but surely anything is worth a try?

kinderbob Tue 04-Jan-05 23:49:31

Get your doctor to prescribe Zyrtec. My ds has had a small dose every day from 12 months and will up to 2.5 years to try and prevent asthma. A side effect was that he broke the itch cycle, started to sleep and his skin cooled right down. A brilliant side effect IMO.

The generic name is cetirizine, which is what we are prescribed in NZ because it's free.

Badger7 Wed 05-Jan-05 00:15:53

My ds1 (6yrs) started itching all over after a viral infection 18mths ago. Eventually diagnosed as 'Physical Urticaria'. Prescribed antihistamines, meant to be for 3mths but went on and on. Not happy at just taking medicine indefinitely (had to increase dose to control itching), so GP referred to Hospital Paediatrician. Intention is to do 'whole patient' check - general health, skin, diet, allergies etc. Due 11th Jan, so we'll see what happens!

Sandi102 Wed 05-Jan-05 09:16:52

badger ds is due for allergy tests at the end of this month, so we'll see how that goes. please keep us posted on your progress at hosp.

kinderbob,zyrtec sounds good. I'll ask the GP about it. DS has been on vallegran in the past, and I do want to try something that will break the itch cycle, but my fear is that ds will get immune to these medicines, and he may return to itching.

fuzzyfelt Wed 05-Jan-05 21:54:29

Hi. Just skimmed these posts so may be repeating something that has already been suggested. We have the same problem with DD which has been helped greatly lately by using (at night) mild HC on bad patches and EPADERM all over her. We then 'wet wrap' her which sounds awful but works really well - tubifast leggings and tunic soaked in warm water then put on and then a dry layer of tubifast leggings and tunic on top of that. Then pyjamas. The wet layer keeps her skin hydrated and cool and so less itchy and the fact that she is covered in tightish clothing prevents her from damaging her skin when she does scratch.

This course of action was recommended by the consultant dermatologist and we were horrified at first but it has been a godsend. DD now sleeping through night again!

Chandra Wed 05-Jan-05 22:53:46

Frizbe, one of the many triggers of eczema flares is stress (though is far from being the only one) so a nervous adult may benefit from yoga, but in children stress related flares can be caused for very simple things like a change in the routine, a tantrum, etc. HTH

Badger7 Wed 05-Jan-05 23:40:11

Will do. Not sure what other tests they are planning, GP said they'd 'look at everything'.

Badger7 Sat 15-Jan-05 00:10:07

Sandi102,DS1 has been to hospital - no definite diagnosis or treatment yet, took blood to test for wheat/egg/dairy allergy, allergic sensitivity and liver function (apparently you can have impaired liver function/jaundice where only obvious symptom is itching). Should get results in about a month hopefully. If the blood test doesn't throw up anything they will 'have another think'(!).

Fran1 Sat 15-Jan-05 00:27:39

I found i did have to "wean" my skin very carefully from steroids. If i just stopped it flared up straight away, i had to do a really gradual weaning process and subsitute with very greasy creams at the times i used to apply steroids. I too like Aveeno, but that is after trying hundreds of creams, you may have to do the same for your son until you find one which provides relief rather than stiffness.

During the nighttimes when he itches the most, put a very greasy cream on the areas he scratches in a really thick layer, this way he may scratch but hopefully won't get through to break the skin and make it worse.

Sandi102 Sun 16-Jan-05 10:04:20

thanks fran and badger7. yet more waiting for results. i wish the process wouldn't take so long. sk cream was delivered last week, and I'm not using HC anymore, until ds gets a really bad flare up. I must reccomend SK cream, because I think it helps to prevent the flare up of excema on his creases.

KBear Sun 16-Jan-05 10:13:36

Do our worries about steroid cream stem from years ago when steroid creams were perhaps given in stronger doses (ie before they knew the long term side effects)? I only say this because my doc reassured me about the 1% steroid cream saying it was a very low dose. I had told him about my cousin who had terrible eczema as a child, to the point her skin split, and was given very strong steroid cream which has also damaged her skin.

I have found that I don't need to use it on DD everyday but I look closely at her skin every day and use it to prevent serious flareups.

melon1 Sun 16-Jan-05 12:22:45

Sandi102, when you started using the sk cream did the skin go red first? I used it for 2 days and it seemed to make the eczema worse.

Sandi102 Sun 16-Jan-05 17:09:25

no it didn't go red melon. I did ask for a lanilon free version, so it could be that. It's not a wonder cure and I don't think there is anything on the market that can eliminate the eczema, but at least ds's skin isn't as bad as it was over nov and dec. I also put oatmeal in his bath, which I also think helps his skin.

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