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Allergies and intolerances

Excema nightmare

47 replies

Beatrice · 13/08/2004 21:51

Having an awful time with DD's excema at the moment. I know it's a really common problem and lots of mums have to deal with it, but I'm getting really upset about it and don't feel like I'm doing the best for DD at all. She's 6 months now and has had it since she was about 3 months. Up until now it's been mostly on her tummy and legs and I've managed to keep it under control with Epaderm and 0.5% hydrocortisone. But this week it's suddenly spread and got much worse - don't know if it's because of the hot weather or because she's started eating a lot more or what. The worst is her face. She's red all over and constantly scratching at herself. I've had conflicting advice about using hydrocortisone on the face - is it OK or does it damage the skin? And are there any side effects from absorbing it through the skin? She also has a very dry, itchy scalp which the health visitor recommended a horrible, sticky paraffin cream for. I put that on her scalp tonight before bed and she's smeared it all over her hands, rubbed it on her face and I think in her eyes, and probably swallowed a load as well by sucking her hands. Don't want to use that again - anyone know an alternative for really dry scalp? She's also got awful red blotchy marks all around her mouth - a reaction to food on her skin when she's eating. What should I be using to clean her face after she eats? She's so miserable and uncomfortable I'm desperate to know how to help her. Would really appreciate some suggestions.

OP posts:
hmb · 13/08/2004 22:03

There are other mumsnetters with more experience and I am sure they will be along soon.

We use aqueous cream for skin cleaning. It works well for both of my kids, whi have excema. I know from other posters that it has not worked well for them.

Have you tried it?

Beatrice · 13/08/2004 22:15

Yes, I've been using it on her face to keep it moisturised. It used to work well but seems to have stopped working now, and I'm actually beginning to wonder if it's making her itch - she seems to scratch immediately after I put it on.

OP posts:
SofiaAmes · 14/08/2004 01:22

Beatrice, it sounds terrible. You should do some searches on eczema threads as lots of people have given lots of good advice. Many of us have found that Aveeno cream works wonders. I have found that it will literally make my dd's eczema disappear overnight. For her it works better than hydrocortisone. In the past when her eczema got really bad, I used a protopic, but you need to get referred to a consultant to get it prescribed for under 2's in this country (I had it prescribed in the usa). However, since I have started using the aveeno cream, my dd's eczema has never even gotten near bad enough that I need anything more for it.
You should also experiment with bathing more and less. Some mothers found that more bathing helped. With my dd less bathing was much better. Also, make sure you use no soap, or at most something that is very gentle on the smelliest bits only. Climate also makes a difference, so experiment with no clothes and outdoors while the weather is still good enough to do so. Good luck.

Portree · 14/08/2004 09:08

Beatrice, I know how awful it is to feel powerless when your little one is suffering. I found mumsnet when I was looking for help with my ds's eczema. I started a thread about hc on the face and got lots of information here . Additionally, I managed to ask my registered GP this question. He said that they had had a presentation by the paed. derm. from the hospital who had said that 1% hc could be used indefinitely without causing skin thinning. Now, I know this is a he said/she said piece of info but what it did do was completely put my mind at rest. The other thing I do with the hc, we use 0.5%, is to use it as soon as I spot the signs. So i don't wait for it to flare, as soon as I see the rash I whack it on. That's worked for us. How are you using the hc? I did 2x a day and then once the patch was gone used it for another day.

I discovered Aveeno on this site and I use it on ds 2x/day. I now get it on prescription. I tried all the usual suspects but ds reacted to them all (diprobase, epaderm etc). Aquaeous cream made ds itch like crazy and I suspect that he was reacting to the paraffin based ingredients. Have you tried something oil based for her scalp, plain olive oil? Is her scalp flaky? The marks on her mouth, do they happen after eating certain foods? Dairy? I clean ds mouth with dampened Bounty kitchen roll.

I've also had ds at the homeopath and he gets given probiotics daily, bifidobaterium infantis. I only bath him 2x a week and use either Aveeno bath powder or oats in a sock in his bath. These are the things that have worked for us. HTH

luckymum · 14/08/2004 09:31

Beatrice, we use Aveeno too, on prescription from our GP. Dd's eczema responds better to daily baths (we use Balneum) but other children are better with less baths. We also use 1% h/c on flare ups although luckily dd's face has never been affected. Aqueous cream actually makes her eczema worse, making the patches very red and angry. You will probably have to experiment to get the right mix of emoillients, so I'd go back to your GP otherwise it can get an expensive business. Good luck.

bunny2 · 14/08/2004 10:30

sounds just like my ds when he was that age. Any cream seemed to irritate especially aqueous cream (I have heard aqueous cream irritates alot of children, I'd stop using it). We found ointments didnt irritate and we tried lots of them such as Epaderm, 50:50 etc and we found the best was diprobase (ointment not cream, avaiable on prescription). For the scalp, olive oil is good. Hydrocortisone is very weak and I used it on ds' face with no problems at all (limit usage to a week at the time I thin k). Applying ointment in a thin layer as a barrier before food might help any irritant reaching her skin but keep the layer thin as thick layers can be uncomfortable.

majic30 · 14/08/2004 13:41

Hi im new to mumsnet but i feel i can offer a little advice on the effects eczema has on the whole family,
my son has had eczema since he was 4wks old, starting as a little patch on his arm spreading to the whole of his body,i had depression caused by sleep deprivation and all i could do was watch him suffer. I felt helpless and very desperate, I had conflicting advice, We used socks on his hands in the early days to stop the scratching,had to sew the arms on his sleepsuits,we managed to buy mitts from Halmax healthcare which we still use at night and at times of desperation.
We have a fantastic dermatologist, we had to wet wrap aaron and he was admitted to hospital as he was that bad. Please join the Eczema society as they helped me learn more about the condition.
We tryed everything from homeopathics,chinese there really is no cure , but i do feel that it will run its course one day, let me also tell you that if you are under a specialist and the problem becomes a full time carers job you can apply for D.L.A and also recieve the carers allowance i get the highest rate for my son. I found this out through a lady in the news letter from the eczema society. As for your childs scalp i totaly recommend Almond oil my son was smothered and it all went within 3/4 days.My son is 4 and a half now starting school in sept im dreading it i really dont think that they will cope with his demands.

minkmama · 14/08/2004 21:00

Beatrice, I'm sorry to hear that your poor DD suffers from the dreaded eczema We have been battling with it for some time as DS1 has had it since he was 5mths and is now 21mths. It has been v. erratic from blood on the bedsheets to almost perfect. I'll tell you what we do so that I don't take up too much space - let me know if you'd like to know more!

Oilatum Plus in bath
Epaderm as a soap (try it on her hair as well and rinse off, I've found this works)
Cetraben cream
Bach flower rescue remedy cream for rashes and small flare ups

Sadly we have needed to turn to steroids both on body and face. Tbh, we have found it much better to apply it on his face than see the distress and inflammation the eczema can cause.

DS1 is also seeing an homoepath - we ahve managed to find a good one and recently his eczema near enough disappeared. Naturally this is a constant treatment as opposed to a one-off cure, but it has made his and our lives so much happier. He could actually wear shorts this year!


p.s. use a fan whilst she's sleeping in hot weather.

pepsi · 14/08/2004 21:09

I dont think my children have suffered in the way your has, but my dd age 2 gets in once the weather gets warm and you put sun lotion on. We now use Proderm mouse as our suncreen which has helped, Oilatum in the bath and then loads of aqueous, it has cleared up now. We have also found that if you put sun cream on in the day of any description she must have a bath at night to wash it all away, if not out comes the excema. Last year she had the steriod cream on the face but a very low dosage, half a percent I think, I was told to use it sparingly and not long term. It did clear it up though.

gloworm · 14/08/2004 21:11

You can get the following in a good health shop. They are both fantastic, in my opinion (and in opinion of lots of the customers in our wee health shop)

Weleda Calendula Baby Oil...use from top to toe every day, morning and/or after bath. One of my customers had a dd who was so bad that she reacted to everything they tried, even pure aloe vera. but they found this baby oil did the trick.

Jason Sea Kelp Conditioner...great for dry itchy scalp and cradle cap. We use it for dd cradle cap and it really keeps it under control. I have a small bit of eczema on scalp and find it great too.

Pure aloe vera gel is really cooling and soothing during hot weather.

bigfoot · 14/08/2004 21:13

id recommend exorex lotion(prescription) to stop itching and eucerin cream is good for dry skin
weleda calendulon ointment is a lifesaver

bigfoot · 14/08/2004 21:16

i find that aloe gel irritates my excema -but i like using it for other things

majic30 · 14/08/2004 21:43

We are using, balneum plus bath oil in the water, then i use epaderm all over, although quite greasy - by the morning his skin hasnt dryed out as much as it did with the cetraben which i top to tail him with in the daytime.i agree with minkmama the fan is a great help especially with the weather we,re getting at the moment.

minkmama · 14/08/2004 23:55

gloworm - i tried pure aloe vera (direct from plant) but nothing happened. is it true that you have to separate the skin from the pulp?

Chandra · 15/08/2004 00:15

Beatrice, it feels horrible know because you can see your baby suffering and there would be lots of person who would not understand, I believe that your DD's eczema can be worst at the moment because of the hot weather, when I was in your position last year I wish somebody could have come with the perfect cream that worked for DS but every child with eczema is different and what works for one would not work for another so there will be a time of trial and error until you find what works best for your DD.

In our case has been Eucerin Lotion and Emolitar (a tar based oirl for the bath) and protopic, but we also got protopic once we have tried every single presentation of hidrocortisone for months without success.

I think there are very good tips in this thread, the only that I would like to add is to apply the cream in the first four minutes after the bath when the skin is wet and the pores are open.

When the skin is broken most creams sting, we normally use Diprobase over broken skin but need to apply it more often that other creams (sometimes once every hour but if that save him a good screaming and further scratching, so be it, we go back to his regular cream as soon as the skin heals).

Good luck and please come back if you have more questions or just want to talk about how do you feel {{hugs{}}}


Chandra · 15/08/2004 00:38

...ahh, and I should not forget, it may lok terrible now, but don't despair it will get better with time

IlanaK · 15/08/2004 21:48

My baby also has bad excema and on advice from this site we started using oats in the bath and Aveeno cream. His excema has not disappeared, but it is soooo omuch better in a very short time. His face looked terrible before, and he now looks like a normal baby. Unlike many others on here, my GP has refused to prescribe aveeno so we are having to buy it and it is expensive, but I think worth it.

Jip · 16/08/2004 16:10

Beatrice....I use epaderm cream too in the bath to stop our skin drying out in the bath (me and my little one). It can also be used as an alternative to soap. Ours is fairly minor, however, my sister had very severe eczema as a child, but as she has grown older, she has grown out of it. So take comfort, apparently most children do, especially as time goes on, as the family and the little person themselves become more aware of what foods/allergens make a flare up. In answer to your posting a couple of days ago, I / we have tended to avoid hydrocortisone. It can be effective, however, I have baulked at the thought of using a steroid cream, and have saught out natural alternatives (of which there are many) My sister did use some as a child initially when she had a severe flare up, however, on the areas that it was used the pigmentation has not returned to her skin. (this was 20 years ago though) Perhaps best not to use this on the face. I do often feel when visiting a doctor that there is a certain amount of ignorance about eczema, and often, they have been far too eager to perscribe hydrocortisone cream even to me and my fairly unsevere small patches. The problem being is that there is no general 'cure' for eczema. It is important to remember that every case is different and requires different remedies. We have found so even just within immediate family. The main rules we live by is no E numbers, no dairy/wheat and wherever possible chemical free cotton clothing. (always ask in the shop...even some organically grown ones have been dipped in something nasty, or use irritating dyes) We buy alot from healthy house (bedding) and are having a PJ sale on their site at the moment. They also do specialist cover up clothing with mittens for bed time that stop my little one tearing at her face in her sleep. Apparently, these also work well for wet wrapping. I find they just keep the creams on her skin for longer. They do cotton school trousers too which a friend of mine found useful for her son. It helps him to look a little more like everybody else. We've done quite alot of research over the years as a family into solutions, I'm happy to share what knowledge I have, however, just bear in mind, like I said before, that every case is different.

Jip · 16/08/2004 16:17

IlanaK.....I forgot to mention. There are grants available for sufferers of eczema. Ask the National Eczema Society about it. I think it is the local social security??? office that deals with it - severe eczema is recognized as something in which families need support. The grant may only be available to families on a low or state income, however, worth checking out. I know it covers specialist clothing, maybe also medication.

Best of luck x

Chandra · 16/08/2004 16:21

Just for the record, the damage that eczema causes to skin if left untreated it's worse than the damage caused by using hidrocortisone as directed. 0.5 it's the mildest presentation and it's safe for the face as long as you use it sparingly and only when skin flares.

nanookofthenorth · 16/08/2004 16:30

minkmama make sure your plant is aloe vera and not an agarve(which are often sold as aloe vera)
aloe v has soft squidy leaves agarve(a 'cousin' of av) leaves are basically the same shape but much harder and spikier
the gel can just be squeezed out from the middle of the av is good for burns/sunburn(as is lavender oil)

Beatrice · 16/08/2004 21:07

Thanks so much for all your suggestions and advice. DD is a lot better at the moment, I think the cooler weather has helped. Also, I've been reassured by what most of you have said about hydrocortisone and have started using it more regularly instead of just dabbing a tiny amount on the worst patches. I like the idea of using oats in the bath instead of Oilatum. Do you just use ordinary porridge oats? Also, I'd love to know what experience others have had with dairy products and wheat. DD has had formula so I guess it's already too late to avoid dairy, but she hasn't had wheat yet. I didn't realise wheat was a potential problem for excema suffers, but Jip you said you avoid it. Does anyone else, and does it help?

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minkmama · 17/08/2004 00:06

Have you done any allergy tests? That might set your mind at ease as it were and help you to narrow down what aggrevates DD's eczema.

Nanook - thanks for that. It's def aloe vera, but my mum has given me another one which looks different but she assures me is a.v. Doesn't look like agarve though.

I like Jip tried to go completely natural at first and also hated the idea of any steroid. However, it depends upon your individual case. IMO the distress I caused for DS1 by not using any steroid was far worse than using it. I believe it manages it not cures it so am still ardently trying to use natural products where feasible. DS1 is seeing a homeopath which is still something I believe in as I think it is the only reason as to why he stopped itching and improved.

Portree · 17/08/2004 09:40

Beatrice, I am so glad that your dd is a little better. Regarding the hc, I bought a small book from Boots that is written by the BMA about eczema (there are others in the series, arthritis etc). Of all the info that I read I found it the most useful. In it there is a guide to the use of hc using something called 'finger tip units'. I also joined the National Eczema Society but you don't need to be a member for them to email you info. The NES have lots of good info. I was really really concerned about using the hc (0.5%) on ds's face. I'd use a little bit once and then there'd be an improvement for a day, then it would be back and so on. Anyhow, once I started to use it properly (combination of info from GP, BMA, NES, and mumsnet) the patches on ds's face disappeared completely and have never come back. It's either the BMA or NES guide that says many people stop using the hc too soon and that a degree of 'hidden healing' goes on, so it is advisable to use the hc for one or two appplications after the patch has visibly gone. In the end I think I only used the hc for 6 consectutive days once I used it properly. HTH as I know how worrying it is. Oh, and try to leave 20 minutes between applications of hc and emollient or vv.

Re the oats, I just use ordinary porridge oats and put them in a baby sock and fasten with an elastic band. I put the sock in the bath for a few minutes then squish it out so that the water goes milky. I use the sock to wash ds and it leaves his skin lovely and smooth. Even dh commented on how effective the oat-sock is.

My ds is dairy senstitive - the skin around his mouth will go all red and covered in hives - so he is dairy free. Also, if I take any dairy produce and rub it on his wrist, my crude allergy test, then he gets the same reaction. He is bf with Nutramigen in breakfast etc. I do know that ds's eczema started when I started weaning. All HPs have said that this is a coincidence. I'm not so sure. I've avoided wheat and intend to do so for a while yet.

Chandra · 17/08/2004 09:58

I have also avoided wheat until he was one year old, and plan to keep avoiding egg until he is two. If you have a history of family allergies I would recommend Gina Ford's book of weaning as it has a very good program to introduce the different ingredients that allows you to spot possible offenders.

DS's eczema also started around the time formula was introduced but I have tried most of them and it really doesn't make a big difference though I need to say that the one he has managed better is Aptamil (and I'm very sorry to say this but in our case Cow&Gate was a curse, though I'm sure there are lots and lots of people who have not had any problem with it).

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