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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Eczema - any advice?

(166 Posts)
HouseOfBears Wed 23-Jan-13 07:21:37

My DD (5 months) has terrible eczema on her face - it's like an open wound, all raw and weepy, with crusty and flaky patches. It's so sore poor baby. We have had antibiotics, steroid cream, use emollient in the bath and apply Aveeno moisturiser often throughout the day but nothing has helped. We've been referred to a dermatologist, but in the meantime does anyone have any advice or suggestions for how to help?

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 15:47:41

ethelb - but lactose intolerance is completely different and would be most likely to cause gastrointestinal symptoms, not eczema. Actually in this age group cow's milk protein intolerance/allergy (to some degree) is not an unusual cause of eczema.

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 15:48:16

Well you're lucky. There's not enough time for the docs to be trained in nutrition and if they were there'd be vested interests involved as there are anyway. I go purely on my experience and if aspartame and tomatoes cause my eczema so be it I don't remember any doc. mentioning it.

ShadyLadyT Wed 23-Jan-13 15:49:57

So, tempnameswap, NICE recommend a calcium supplement but you say it's fine not to, even over a whole month? Ah well: if there isn't enough in her diet her body will simply take it from her bones. Which would just be great, of course.

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 15:49:59

@temp I am well aware lactose intolerence is difference, its just the self diagnosed allergy/food intoelrance sufferes don't really have sufficint information to do a proper elimination diet. It is hard to know what is in all foods.

tootiredtothinkofanickname Wed 23-Jan-13 15:51:30

I'm afraid I didn't have time to read all the thread but I'll tell you what worked for us, although DS (now 2) didn't have it as bad your poor DS and has now almost grown out of it.

A big no to aequeous cream, it was used a lot in the past and most GPs are not aware it's actually not suitable. For a lot of eczema sufferers, it makes things worse.

You have to moisturise a lot, and findind the right moisturiser is unfortunately trial and error. Weleda is very good for DS, but might not be good for your DS. One trick is to apply the moisturiser on damp skin, so maybe right after his bath. Don't rub it in, just let it soak in.

Oats in an old sock in the bath water worked for DS. Bath products were a big no for us, and the oats helped softened the water and seemed to soothe the itching.

Definitely see a dermatologist. Ours told us that cortisone creams actually sting, so it's better to use cortisone ointments. Sometimes you have to use them for a few days or so until the flare-up is under control, and then moisturising is more efficient.

Finally, we made the mistake of using bio detergent for our clothes (and a strong one at that) and non-bio only for DS' clothes, until we realised that we used to hold him a lot and the cheek he was sleeping on in our arms rubbed against our clothes. The flare-ups were worse on that side, so we changed the detergent and could see the difference straight away.

Try giving up the conditioner at least for a while, as it's full of chemicals which stay in the clothes. Also, a liquid detergent works better for us, as it's easier to rinse off, and we always double rinse everything.

Good luck, and sorry if I repeated what has already been said upthread!

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 15:53:39

There is some training in nutrition (and allergies) but you are right it is pretty minimal... For a long time it was thought that allergens could not affect a baby via breast milk so that view is still widely held and information, particularly in primary care, a bit patchy. But when you get referred to a specialist dermatologist/paediatrician/allergy clinic the story is different.

Mooycow Wed 23-Jan-13 15:57:29

Never use aqueous cream as a moisturiser it burns the skin,
It can however be used as a soap substitute, avoid bathing too often,and use of wet wipes etc
trial and error of creams until you find one that works i love aveeno but its not for every one
if all else fails ask gp to refer to dermatologist for advice

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 16:00:04

Actually Shady, depending on which specialist allergy centre you are referred to, advice on calcium supplements differs. So at Great Ormond St, for example, I know of a consultant who doesn't think they are at all necessary for elimination diets whist bfing. Whereas I was prescribed them for the same, after the trial showed I needed to continue cutting out dairy.

But you are right, the point of the NICE guidelines is that they are the gold standard, so maybe buy some calcium supplements (the point being the Op's GP won't prescribe them, because he/she thinks it is highly unlikely to be an allergen causing the problem...).

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 16:05:53

And ethelb for the mother's elimination diet, cutting out the obvious sources would probably be sufficient. So no milk, butter, yoghurt etc and to try and avoid foods with ingredients that contain milk proteins (eg whey, casein); plus avoid actual 'frank' egg, plus cakes etc containing egg. Anything more sophisticated than (ie avoidance as if for a directly allergic patient) that could be kept until later.

In fact sometimes, giving up milky drinks (lattes etc), milk in cereals, chocolate etc can be enough to show there was a problem.

mumat39 Wed 23-Jan-13 16:10:14

Hi there.
I haven't read the whole thread, sorry. But, have you considered it could be dietary? A lot of people get eczema as a result of dairy and either have an intolerance or an allergy. If your little one is otherwise fine in herself then it is possible that it could be an intolerance. Could you try cutting dairy out of your diet if you're breast feeding? Or could you ask the gp to see if there is a suitable alternative to milk that your little one could have instead?

There are a lot of alternative milk products available in most supermarkets but most won't be suitable for such a young child, so please speak to your gp if you can.

Hope it starts to get better soon.
Take care and apologies if i've just repeated what others have already said.

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 16:15:22

But sadly temp the calcium and proteins (hence all the eczema) from cow's milk is very hard for most people to benefit from because we haven't the correct amount of magnesium or B6 in our guts, we're not calves!

SimplyCupcakes Wed 23-Jan-13 16:21:30

Hi, my ds had terrible eczma all over since about 3 months and went through soooo many creams, diet changes, muslin etc. we moved to Spain for 10 years and it had disapeared within 2 weeks!! however, if a move to warmer climes is not an option smile since we have been back it has flared up again.
He now uses Diprobase daily, i only use a non-bio liquid to wash his clothes as feel this rinses out better, but the HUGE change was when we had a water filter fitted to the entire house. It is a Kinetico water system, which filters and softens with salt all the water coming into the house. So, all the water he drinks, showers in, clothes are washed in is all treated. It was not cheap but would not do without it now as it has made such a difference to him, in fact we only rent this house but had it fitted and will be taking it with us. As soon as he spends a couple of days at some-one else' house he can notice a change. Well worth the money!! Look into it online and give them a ring, they don't guarantee it helps but say it is the main reason people have it fitted.
Good luck, it really is a sad state for you both to be in. xxx

GirlOutNumbered Wed 23-Jan-13 16:22:09

I have been dairy and soya free for both my sons. At no point have I been told to take supplements. Calcium can easily be obtained from green veg and is added to some of the dairy milk alternatives. No dietician has ever mentioned taking supplements to me, or giving them to my dairy free 2 year old.

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 16:27:50

simplyCupcakes Did a normal jug filter help him? I know about the softened water for the bath it's brilliant because that's what helped our DS's eczema a hell of a lot. But is it a good idea to drink water softened with salt for your bones and teeth?

OrangeforDd Wed 23-Jan-13 16:35:37

I gave up dairy, eggs and chocolate (aarrggghhh) when bf Ds who had very severe eczema as you have described. His dairy allergy was discaovered when a supermarket trolley strap touched his neck while I was shopping. A child must have spilt milk on it. He came out in an angry red welt. If a dairy allergy is severe a small spot of milk on the skin (back of hand or inside arm) will cause the skin to redden and look bumpy, as though bitten by insects. (Just wash the area and it will subside) Unfortunately Ds is now 17 and still has allergies to dairy and eggs, but much less severe. Also he is the tallest in our family!!

SimplyCupcakes Wed 23-Jan-13 16:44:55

ppeatfruit, hiya, never did try a filter jug but we were told that drinking it was no problem at all, obviously we are now all drinking it. Its definately not something I was made to worry about, just so pleased with the results for ds. Look online or talk to the company if you have any worries. Ds eczma was so bad as a child i was accused of neglect at 1 point, and people would stare at him, then scowl at me! Now, he's a 6ft4 gorgeous 14yr old! (few teenage spots but nothing else!)

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 16:55:05

That's interesting simply Because we need a filter in this very hard water area in Fr. (there was a broken one here when we first moved but they cost 5 or 6 thousand euros shock.)I use a jug filter for drinking and just add the sea salt to my bath water. Oddly you can buy a magnetic one to fit to the pipes but the DIY places don't stock it IMO because it costs approx 25 euros hmm

SimplyCupcakes Wed 23-Jan-13 17:03:57

well, it cost here about 1600, so that sounds very expensive. My dh was here while it was fitted and said it was very easy to do, so may even be worth buying it here, then taking it home and fitting it yourselves? That was the fitting costs included so even cheaper for just the unit.

Yfronts Wed 23-Jan-13 17:12:19

cutting dairy cured my kids

Yfronts Wed 23-Jan-13 17:12:47

you can get calcium in lots of other foods

Yfronts Wed 23-Jan-13 17:14:05

if you are BF'ding then eliminate dairy from your diet

droid400004 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:18:56

our LO has mild eczema which we keep under control by not bathing too frequently and using oats and sweet almond oil in his bath (no soap ever except bi-weekly hair wash). Oats in the bath to soften the water are the best thing ever! We put it in a muslin and squeeze it into the bath water, then use the oat-filled-muslin to wash him gently. We find that whenerver he has a bath without oats, his skin dries out very quickly. We also apply sweet almond oil all-over twice a day (when dressing/undressing for bed). I use Ecover Zero (no fabric softener) to wash clothes/bedding, always with an extra rinse cycle to make sure there is no soap left on them (not just his clothes - he comes in contact with my clothes too!). Finally, we avoid harsh chemical cleaners (especially in the bath) and make sure the bath is very well rinsed after cleaning so he can't come in contact with anything nasty. Hope this helps!

droid400004 Wed 23-Jan-13 17:21:13

oh and keeping his nails really short so he can't do himself too much damage scratching!

Hoophopes Wed 23-Jan-13 18:44:56

Hi my ds developed ezcema, to cut a long story short and lots of appointments we find out he is CMPI. I am breastfeeding, removed all dairy from diet (and told to aviod soya also whilst await allergy testing) and his skin is now perfect. I have not being told to take supplements but am taking them for bf'ing anyway.

We have Aveeno moisturiser and steroid cream for when it was needed.

Newtwinmum Wed 23-Jan-13 18:45:48

Hi feel really sorry for you but hope I have some tips, first of all both mine sons had eczema since birth and in the beginning gp seems not to know anything! Tried some creams but nothing worked and he referred us to the dermatologist, we had to wait a couple of weeks but after that it was a godsend because ( this is 6 years ago) she straight away said he had bad eczema and prescribed oilatum and hydrocortisone 1% cream after a full year of using this 4 times a day and oilatum emollient in his bath and only non bio detergent does not matter which, one he was much better!

But then my second son had exactly what you described and what worked for first ds did not work for him because first ds had only dry skin. Was referred to dermatologist again this time she said it was atopic eczema and there was also an fungal infection! She prescribed me two creams that till now I still use when it flares up again( he is now 4). If I was you do go to your gp now and don't wait for dermatologist because sometimes takes weeks and ask for these creams! Both times she didn't do any allergy test and if your baby is suffering you don't want to wait.

First cream is daktacort and is used when spots or sores are weepy just use lightly couple of times it really works and couldn't thank dermatologist enough but sometimes a fungal infection can be really stubborn and it doesn't clear it up enough or as soon I stopped using daktacort in three days came back. So then she prescribed a steroid called Timovate really strong and you can only use it for three days but it defo does the trick. I am not sure if the gp will give you Timovate without approval of dermatologist but defo dactacort! Also be aware for flare ups use first hydrocortisone and after that dactacort then you can keep in control. And oilatum was too thick for ds2 it just sat on the skin but double base really works for him because is lighter but gets absorbed by the skin much quicker! Both my kids had it bad but key thing is the right cream and keep using it during the day and don't be afraid too ask for something else if it does not work but sometimes things need time. Sorry for the whole lesson but hope it helps

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