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Scratching and sleep

(23 Posts)
Pj Tue 29-May-01 22:01:04

My year old son has eczema and scratches all night long. Even when there is no rash and his skin looks good, he keeps on scratching, especially ankle against ankle. When left alone in his cot he cries till he is sick. I relent and bring him into our bed where he keeps us all awake with his scratching - but at least he is not crying. Last night I got to sleep at 5.30 a.m. and the pattern has been similar for several weeks now. I use steroids, dairy free, cotton only etc etc to control the eczema but it doesnt stop him wanting to scratch. Any suggestions on how to ease his discomfort?

Jj Tue 29-May-01 22:49:54

This is going to be an unpopular view, but I'd give him an antihistimine; not to make him sleepy, but to stop the itching. Don't feel bad about using it-- this is its intended purpose-- whatever your views on using it solely for the side effects are. The only problem is that when it wears off he might start scratching again. Unfortunately, the 24 hour antihistimines like Claritin and Zyrtec are for kids 2 and up.

The thing we found with some reactions is that if we could get them to stop completely, they would give up and wouldn't reappear for a while.

Good luck.

Pj Wed 30-May-01 08:35:52

Jj - which antihistimine did you use? Was it a prescription one? Also, did you ever try wet wraps? My gp has recommended them.

Bloss Wed 30-May-01 10:39:45

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Faith Wed 30-May-01 12:03:15

My twin daughters had horrendous eczema, and would scratch until they broke the skin. Agonising for all of us. We saw a homeopath, who has resolved the problem. Instantly for one daughter. It has taken longer with the other, but she is now fine too. For one substituting goats for cows milk made an immediate difference.

Emmagee Wed 30-May-01 17:02:47

there was an article in last weekends' Observer about eczema which had some useful contact details, here is the link:,6903,497040,00.html

Kia Wed 30-May-01 19:36:04

I went to an aromatherapy demo last week and the lady who did the lecture said she had got into it because she didn't like the conventional treatment for her daughter's eczema. She said she has managed to control her daughter's condition through aromatherapy and diet. If I can get hold of her I'll ask her what she used.

Robinw Wed 30-May-01 20:26:47

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Jj Wed 30-May-01 20:52:47

Pj, we used Benadryl (a US product-- we're from the US). It's diphenhydramine HCl and the dose was 12.5mg. We actually stock up on it when we're visiting, so I don't know about the antihistimines here. Sorry. Maybe your GP would know if Piriton is ok or if there is another antihistimine for small children.

If you do try it and have never given it to him before, I'd give the first dose ever during the day when it wouldn't be the worst thing ever for him to take a nap. Some antihistimines make some kids hyper-- you'd probably want to find that out before bedtime!

Good luck. My only other advice is that I've found the pharmacists here next to useless, so a conversation with your doctor might be the best bet. If she says that Benadryl would work if only you could get it, let me know. We've got quite a bit and are heading back again next week.

We've never tried the wraps. Hopefully those will do the trick! Don't wrap up the steroid ointment or cream though, unless your doctor has advised it.

Chelle Thu 31-May-01 02:05:28

I don't know if this will be helpful, and I haven't tried on by little boy as yet, but it works very well for my own eczema. My mother's dermatologist recommended it to her some years ago when she got sick of constantly using cortisone cream. Try an emulsion of water and Vaseline(petroleum jelly). I put it on my patches of eczema when I get out of the shower and my skin is still warm. Just wet the skin, add a dob of Vaseline and rub in as much as possible. It usually clears up my eczema wihtin a day or two and stops it itching in the mean time. Hope this helps.

Pupuce Thu 31-May-01 11:02:54

I agree with Faith and others who recommend to find the cause rather than fight the symptoms - and generally an homeopath will be more successful at this than a GP (to sart with they have more time to investigate). It is worth the effort as the eczema is only there to let out/highlight some internal problem.
My son has eczema - goat milk has helped tremendously but he isn't rid 100% so I am still investigating.
I don't suppose you are still breastfeeding... in case you are - be aware that it may be a reaction to what you are eating (it was in my case).

Pj Thu 31-May-01 11:40:58

Thanks to everyone for the advice - some of the suggestions have been tried already but there is plenty of food for thought here. Luckily my gp is prepared to spend the time with us. Re the Observer article, I have read it and was interested to see the author advising agaisnt petrochemical-based creams. Has anyone tried using just vegetable oils? I find they dont have the same immediate moisturising effect as petroleum-based creams so havent persevered.

Harrysmum Thu 31-May-01 12:03:44

I have had eczema since I was a baby and although it lessened as I grew up, it hasn't disappeared completely. I use hydromol as a moisturiser (prescription only and I don't think that it's petroleum based at all but your gp would know) and it is the best cream that I have found (and I have tried many over 27 yrs!). I have been using it on my baby's skin as he has developed eczema across his back just in the last 3-4 weeks (he is almost 8 months) and it is helping (along with 0.5% hydrocortisone which I would rather not use in the longer term if we can find an alternative). We think that his rash is triggered by pollen (one of my trigger factors) so there is not a lot we can do to exclude it from his environment. Good luck with your wee one - I do know how miserable it can be. Incidentally, my mum used to bandage my arms and legs until I was about 5 or 6 (I think) and she said that it was helpful (skin is more receptive to steroids when warm; principle of occlusion; your gp can explain better than I). She cut a hole though at my hand so that I could still suck my thumb.

Madasahatter Thu 31-May-01 14:12:54

My 3 children all have eczema (or tendency to) - after our eldest (now 4 1/2yrs) saw a consultant some 2/3 years ago we instigated the following routine (according to the hospital advices) to treat and prevent all our children - so far it does the trick.

In the morning moisturise child on affected parts with 'OILY CREAM'. In the afternoon (at bathtime) use 'ACQUEOUS CREAM' as a substitute for soap BEFORE putting your child in the bath. Put 2 capfuls of 'JUNIOR OILATUM' in the bath, soak for 15/20 minutes. Rinse child after bath briefly with clear water (if girl make sure private areas are rinsed well to avoid irritation). Out of bath, pat child dry, put steroids (if treating a flare-up). Wait 20 mins and cover child with 'OILY CREAM' again especially on affected parts. When time for bed, check affected areas again and smooth on more 'OILY CREAM' if needed. It's hard work and greasy, but it works for us. Not trying to preach but above all be gentle and soothing with child, avoid losing temper/patience - been there, done that! By the way - it can get expensive - so ask your GP for a prescription. Any ?s write back in. Good luck. OILY CREAM, ACQUEOUS CREAM and JUNIOR OILATUM all available from your pharmacist.

Numbat Thu 31-May-01 14:23:23

Pj, regarding the petroleum products/vegetable oil question, I did find after a while that the various petroleum oil-based products were becoming irritating to my daughter, so now I use just olive oil in the shower and her dermatologist recommended Decubal as an emollient. It's lanolin-based so no good for those with a lanolin allergy, but we find it really good and it has a very pleasant texture. Recently she was getting a sort of dry eczema around her eyes and I didn't like to use steroids there, so I tried just olice oil and it cleared right up! But the same hasn't worked elsewhere on her body I might add.

Alison222 Thu 31-May-01 14:56:37

Pupuce, you say it was a reaction to something that you were eating. How did you go about tracking it down as my son has had eczema from abut 8 weeks -he is now 6 months and solids don't seem to have had any noticable effect to worsen it so far.

Pupuce Fri 01-Jun-01 07:57:50

As I was only breastfeeding my son (2 months old) when he started eczema, I called my homeopath in panic because it didn't start as a small thing but very quickly became severe (only on his face though). He told me to start a diet of raw vegetables and rice ... nothing else- very good to loose the last few pounds trust me !
He then said that after this diet (which he recommended for at least a WE - that's all I managed to last but it is "sufficient" to get rid of the basic toxins or what ever isn't good)I should cut out my dairy intake (I was a heavy milk drinker - good substitute to wine for me)- which I did. It immediately made a difference. When I started using a bit of formula (at 5 months old) in his solids. We started with organic Hipp (cow) and my son got a reaction, so I immediately switched (at my homeoptaht's recommendation) to Nanny goat's milk - and it was perfect !
It is well known that dairy is one of the bigger cause so it is worth starting there and if it doesn't work, then wheat/gluten(there is wheat in tons of products you would be surprised! but there are plenty of alternatives) and maybe do the 2 at the same time... then if neither works... spend some time with a homeopath or someone else (nutritionist, accupuncturist, kynesiologist...) to investigate.
I strongly believe that finding the cause is a FAR better alternative to using cream - just read these messages, people have eczema for years and try several creams... personnally I don't think that's a solution but maybe they could not find the cause.

Finally a cream which was highly recommended to me by a lady who saw me (and din't know me!) with my son and his bad cheecks... It's a cream full of herbs (organic I think) and I did test it and did recommend it to other friends because it made a world of difference to remove the symptoms (so TEMPORARY SOLUTION) Elena Schalburg creams- only available by mail order 01892 783 753-made at her home lab.
I know that people who belong to the eczema society use her products with great success but the society cannot endorse products and hers are not "medically" tested...
Worth a try if all else fails.

Good luck

Alison222 Fri 01-Jun-01 09:05:07

Thanks for that.
I may give it a go as I also drink a fair amount of milk. I am using breast milk to make up solids so he certainly isn't getting dairy from any other source (although the expressing is a pain).
Having said that I did try cottage cheese the other day as my health visitor said the recommendations are that it is OK from 4 months and he is now 6. He got halfway through his meal and then vomited the lot back. I didin't try any other solids until bedtime after that and he seems to be fine. The ezcema doesn't look any different though, although I guess the food wasn't in him for long enough.
Has anyone else had this sort of problem? Should I avoid dairy permanently or just give it a few weeks before trying again?

Happylady Fri 01-Jun-01 09:44:30

My son has eczma and the doctor prescribed
diprobas 500 cream and it works for us, Also
my sisters son has eczma and the cream made
him worse, but when she put suntan lotion on
him by the next day his ezcma was a lot better
don't know why but it maybe worth a try.
you could try and see if any of these work.
Good Luck

Pupuce Fri 01-Jun-01 14:12:54

Alisson 222
I would say that my son (17 months old) is more tolerant to dairy now (his system isn't reacting as strongly) so I think you should try this until he is 1 year old and slowly reintroduce dairy from cow where you can't "really" avoid it like cheese in 6 months.
I think it is interesting that your son vomitted the cottage cheese because I was told that children "know" what they can't eat.. For example, my son always refused cheese and he ate everything else - he was really not fussy... but he wouldn't put cheese in his mouth (that's OK now).... so maybe your son's system is telling you something.

Jimjams Fri 01-Jun-01 16:38:16

have you tried wet wrapping? My son had severe eczema following chickenpox (head to foot) and the dermatology dept showed me how to wet wrap. You can't do it if the eczema is infected though. He went back to sleeping through the night immediately, well almost, but it was a miracle. It's best if someone shows you how to do it, your health visitor or GP should have some information, or the local dermatology department may be able to send out a guide (although maybe not). It's best to do it through your GP anyway as the Tubifast bandages get quite expensive if you donlt get them on prescription. If you can't find anything out about wet wrapping let me know and I'll post a quick guide.


Hanni Fri 01-Jun-01 20:55:29

Have you tried giving him Piriton syrup? It's helped my 2 year old daughter when her eczema (on her legs) is looking very red. It helps her to sleep and reduces the itching.
I think your little one is actually playing you up by the sound of it - he's crying even when there's no itching as he would like to get into your bed. I would dose him up with Piriton, wait for a night when he's not too sore, and then start a sleep programme (ask you Health Visitor) to encourage him to settle in his own bed. Good luck.

Pj Sat 02-Jun-01 07:06:24

I fear our son may be playing us up now! He tends to scratch when he doesnt get his own way - can a 1 year old really be so manipulative?? We may well resort to a suitable medication just to break the cycle, we are all having terribly broken nights so drastic action is needed. As for wer wrapping, we are about to try it just on the legs where the skin is most damaged and seems to give most trouble. I '' report back on its effectiveness - my gp and David Atherton from Great Ormond St hosp both recommend it so we'll give it a go. Re food allergies, have tried several but as we are always trying different creams, routines etc, alongside diet, it is impossible to know what is actually helping the eczema. Do allergy tests work? The hosipital seem reluctant to do them for some reason.

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