Treating severe weeping eczema w/o steroids? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've seen a few people here post about using various salves on their kids who have really bad eczema. I'm wondering what kind of results you've seen without using steroids?

My 7 month old son has eczema that we've been battling since about 2 months old. His was so bad it was raw on his face and he was rubbing at it constantly (and we were trying to stop him constantly). We used various salves on it and, although some things seemed to make him slightly more comfortable, nothing healed it.
Our dermatologist said it was super-infected and we did some topical antibiotic ointment which worked really nicely at getting rid of the red, inflamed part of it.
But nothing has gotten rid of the actual eczema except for steroid.

We use 1% hydrocortisone OTC and, after about a week or so, his face is as clear and smooth as a baby's skin is supposed to be. Absolutely NO sign of eczema. No itching.

We are VERY holistic people and struggled long and hard with whether to use it or not, but realized that he was SUPER uncomfortable and that it was stunting his development because he spent all day itchy, not playing and exploring and learning.
We're going to try to keep it gone with .5% hydrocortisone, but I'd like to know if there is anything we could try that would keep it at bay that *isn't* a steroid! (When we stopped the 1% too early last time, he got an infection right away and that brought the eczema back.)

Any suggestions? Have any of you gotten your baby's face/skin *clear* w/o steroids?

(p.s. we are on a Total Elimination Diet - eating 5 things - and just had a RAST. He's allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, cats, dogs...and maybe something else, I forget. So we are trying to find the cause of his flare-ups.)
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#2 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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FYI, IIRC, about 50% of eczema in kids is food-allergic eczema. My son's eczema was mainly that before we figured out his food triggers, but now it's more from environmental issues.

We use:
* vanicream for daily use (you can get it at your local pharmacy; if they don't have it they should be able to order it);
* 20 minute lukewarm baths once a day with NO soap;
* dustmite protectors on beds;
* hot water washes (drying on hot) for bedding once a week;
* all pets and stuffed animals and books kept out of the bedroom; some people also move to no curtains or rugs or carpets in the bedroom
* change of clothing and a bath immediately upon coming inside from playing outside in spring/fall/summer (i.e. pollen season);
* food/allergen exposure diary to try to identify triggers
* we use Sportswash lanudry detergent: soaps etc can be a big trigger of skin issues
* aggressive use of prescription steroids EARLY on problem patches; when we do this (I know you didn't want to do this) on the first day he has a bad patch, after two or three applications it's often gone. We almost never have real flaring problem spots anymore, but when we do and I let a problem patch go, it ends up we use more steroids in the long run. we now only have to do this three or four times a year, usually when he's had a diet exposure by accident.
* daily antihistamine to control itching
* onesies and other clothes that minimize the areas he can get to; plus clipped nails
* all cotton clothing; we aim for organic when he's having a bad flare

We have not had to do this, but wetwrapping can make an enormous difference in a child's skin.

What are your five foods and how long have you been on the diet?

Our lifeline in our allergy journey has been the forums at http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
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#3 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't list everything we do, but your list is the one I would have written!

*We give him 2 20-minute baths a day. No soap. Fresh washcloth and towel for each bath.
*Goop him up with Vanicream & cortisone on the hot spots. (the vanicream lotion on his face, alternating with cortisone).
*We were wet wrapping him (for his arms and legs and chest) for a few weeks and now have stopped.
*We use a very "clean" detergent and it doesn't seem to aggrevate him.
*We are moving our cats to my MILs house and then we'll do a deep cleaning to get rid of as much dander as possible.
*He sleeps in an Amby hammock (much of the time) and we change his sheet on that daily, pretty much.
*We swaddle him to sleep, still at 7 month old, so he won't scratch in his sleep.
*All cotton clothing.

And we LOVE LOVE LOVE kidswithfoodallergies.com. It's been a lifesaver for us, truly.

Our TED includes:
Teff (grain)
nutritional yeast
olive oil
sea salt
zucchini
pears

We just added RICE this weekend (gave it to him directly and for us). So far so good *knocks on wood*.

I would just like to know if other people have cleared up bad eczema without steroids. We're afraid not to use them, because we just can't handle it getting back to being as bad as it was.
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#4 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat19 View Post
FYI, IIRC, about 50% of eczema in kids is food-allergic eczema. My son's eczema was mainly that before we figured out his food triggers, but now it's more from environmental issues.

We use:
* vanicream for daily use (you can get it at your local pharmacy; if they don't have it they should be able to order it);
* 20 minute lukewarm baths once a day with NO soap;
* dustmite protectors on beds;
* hot water washes (drying on hot) for bedding once a week;
* all pets and stuffed animals and books kept out of the bedroom; some people also move to no curtains or rugs or carpets in the bedroom
* change of clothing and a bath immediately upon coming inside from playing outside in spring/fall/summer (i.e. pollen season);
* food/allergen exposure diary to try to identify triggers
* we use Sportswash lanudry detergent: soaps etc can be a big trigger of skin issues
* aggressive use of prescription steroids EARLY on problem patches; when we do this (I know you didn't want to do this) on the first day he has a bad patch, after two or three applications it's often gone. We almost never have real flaring problem spots anymore, but when we do and I let a problem patch go, it ends up we use more steroids in the long run. we now only have to do this three or four times a year, usually when he's had a diet exposure by accident.
* daily antihistamine to control itching
* onesies and other clothes that minimize the areas he can get to; plus clipped nails
* all cotton clothing; we aim for organic when he's having a bad flare

We have not had to do this, but wetwrapping can make an enormous difference in a child's skin.

What are your five foods and how long have you been on the diet?

Our lifeline in our allergy journey has been the forums at http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
Thanks for posting this! Although I already knew most of it, seeing everything listed like this is really helpful!
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#5 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 11:56 AM
 
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It does sound as if you're doing a lot already.

We do use Vanicream all over after bath and on potential trouble spots at every diaper change when he's getting itchy, so more often than you do, but other than that it sounds as if you've tried all the "easy" stuff, huh?

I'll be very interested to see what remedies people suggest; thank you for asking this question.
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#6 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 12:04 PM
 
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I don't have any natural remedies to offer. However I have just started using a new prescription cream called Atopiclair and it's non-steriodal and works great. It takes about 3 days to get the full effects and it just treats symptoms, it will not cure it. It is not quite as strong as steriods. I get weeping, crusty eczema on the sides of my nose and this stuff is keeping it under control-- no more itching or weeping, although I still get flaky skin once in awhile with it.

I went to a conference on my dd's condition, EE, and found out that eczema is related to it as being another eosinophilic disorder. Usually it's caused by food, but it's very hard sometimes to get a + test on the food that's causing the eczema. Sometimes allergy testing works and other times not. Other times of course it can be caused by contact allergies. In any case, you need to treat this from the inside out.

96% of kids who had EE and went on an elemental formula got better, even those who did not test + to food allergies. Most of them also had their eczema clear up totally. I'm not trying to suggest an elemental formula diet but I am saying that most eczema is probably food related. If you can get those foods out of his diet his skin will probably clear up. Good luck and I hope your little guy feels better soon!

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#7 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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USAmma, thanks for the link on that other med, I've never heard of it. We tried Elidel for a couple of days and it worked for a day or so and then it got worse. and we're worried about the drug itself, anyway. our derm felt more comfortable with the steroids because they've been in use for many many years.

anyway, we're pretty much determined that Z's eczema is not 100% food allergies, because we're b'feeding and cut out all but 5 foods, and unless he's severely allergic to zucchini or teff, then it's not the foods. we're hoping that, once the cats have been out of the house a while, that that will make a difference in his symptoms, as well.

As far as we've read, eczema doesn't get *cured*, just managed. We want to figure out what causes his flare-ups and reduce his exposure to those things. We know the RAST test could be inaccurate at his age, but the numbers were SO high that our allergist said that it's highly unlikely that he's not actually allergic to those things.
We're definitely NOT doing an elemental formula. Because we'd rather he be on a low-dose steroid and getting breastmilk, than have no steroid and be eating the formula. We'd consider it if he was doing super-poorly even on the elimination diet, but he's not.

Currently his skin is 99% great. Just a couple bumpy patches on his arms and they don't seem to bother him. It's amazing. We just would like to keep it that way without drugs.
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#8 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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It sounds like you are doing a great job! Wow, five foods! How do you do it? My dd is on the elemental formula for her EE (has a feeding tube) and she's on four safe foods and trying more slowly. She gets eczema on the inside, basically. Her eczema went away on the outside too, when we started her on the formula.

There are kids who are allergic to wierd things like green beans and rice and meats. My dd is one of them. But it does sound like you have it under control right now and that's awesome!

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#9 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like you are doing a great job! Wow, five foods! How do you do it?
We've worked really hard at getting up to speed on eczema and what it is and what to do about it. I'm sure you know all about that - 0 to 60 in .3 seconds because your child is counting on you!
The diet hasn't been that hard, actually. We make a porridge with ground teff flour, nutritional yeast and olive oil that is pretty tasty. Then we get pretty much all our calories from that. and it's proportioned correctly so we're getting enough protein and fats. Helps in keeping full. Pear sauce is lovely. steamed zucchini is good, espeically with salt on it.

Fortunately, our son doens't have much in the way of internal reactions that we know of. We're just hoping he doesn't have any weird allergies or new reactions. He's pretty much off the top 8, except corn, for the foreseeable future, and that's limiting enough (we planned for him to be vegetarian, and that's not going to happen unless he can eat soy/legumes...)

Anyway, thanks for the boost. It's hard to not be able to cure him, but we're really thankful that he's basically symptom-free currently. Even though it takes the steroid cream to get him there.
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#10 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 12:59 PM
 
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I use a product called BioHeal on my DD2's eczema.
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#11 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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USAmma, thanks for the link. I hate having to use steroid cream on my DS's eczema but it truly does clear up the worst of it...I'll ask the ped about Atopiclair at our next visit.
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#12 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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Do you have a water softener? Soft water triggers my eczema and worsens my mom's psoriasis. City water? Water filter on the shower?

Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.

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#13 of 30 Old 08-27-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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When it gets weepy, we use a compress that we make from Domboro, which is an OTC astringent in powder form, by following the instructions in the back of the box. Walgreens has it in the first-aid section. Not sure how natural it is, but it seems to be the only thing we can use that fights weepiness.

We do use the cortisone creams sometimes, but the cortisone cream can't do it alone when it gets to that weepy stage.
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#14 of 30 Old 08-29-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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Karin95- Would you mind sharing your recipe for porridge?

Thanks~
Jenny
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#15 of 30 Old 08-30-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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my nine-year-old has severe eczema.

she's had it since birth...when she was tiny, she'd scab over, head to toe. break open and bleed. they started having us use lotion, then crisco, then moved on to eucerin cream. each one helped a bit...but not enough.

currently, we manage her eczema in several ways:

limit water and soap exposure.

use eucerin cream after each bath, head to toe.

for hands and feet (she cracks the worst here), apply bag balm and socks before sleeping.

only use arm and hammer detergent for clothing, tide is a no-no.

use bactroban or neosporin for open wounds, WITH bag balm to seal against air.

use antihistamines to control the itching.

use elidel to combat bad outbreaks.



my daughter has NO allergies, but she does have asthma. elidel is flat-out awesome, it has no steroids and will clear up the WORST skin in just a couple days. jordan has some thickened skin in areas, and her feet are the worst. i have a doctor's note saying she can wear open-toe shoes, as her school FREAKED when i sent her in the fall without tennies. she wears tennies TO school, then changes into sandals...open air is healing.
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#16 of 30 Old 08-31-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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We just started atopiclair and are very happy with the results as well. The steroid cremes can cause fading in the skin (esp. darker skin) and we don't trust the elidel (and find avoiding the sun after applications to be difficult). That being said we have used both on ds when he is struggling with flair-ups.

He is older than some of the children being discussed in this thread, but we have found moving from baths to showers to also help greatly.
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#17 of 30 Old 04-08-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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..I know it is hard when your child has a flare up... and you want
a quick easy cure.... but stay away from the steriod creams, the harsh prescription creams like Elidel (for heaven's sake google in Elidel and read the side effects), think future damage to vital organs, even a teeny tiny amount does not stay on their skin it soaks into their bloodstream!! Their skin will be paper thin from continued use. almost always it is food/drink, namely sugars, cereals that sound healthy but loaded with sugar. Even carrots, corn, bananas, grapes, raisins, which tend to be the fruits and veggies of choice for kids with eczema. Dyes in food and ironically some medicines also can trigger eczema. Mom's diet when breastfeeding greatly affects the baby.
How do I know this, have looked after children for over 20 years have seen severe cracked infected skin, and have seen some of the worst diets that go hand and hand with these children, the cycle of medicines, applied over and over. Pretty soon there isn't anything out there that will help, and then you also get secondary infections. You should see these boys and girls as teens, and their first flare up of acne!!! I will repeat, stay away from the prescriptions, think CANCER, CANCER and more CANCER, because as harsh as it sounds you are setting up your child for a future of ailments. So what to do instead??
.... help your child to be comfortable, with Bendryl for itching, acetaminophen
for discomfort, cut their fingernails very very short (this will prevent the risk of infection) and teach them to wash their hands often, drying them completely. Afraid you cannot get them to do this.... but not afraid to pump them with steriod creams and antibiotics. Please parents research and commit some time not a quick fix.... try to think of these children's future!!
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#18 of 30 Old 04-08-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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that's good to know there is an alternative to steroids for the oozing. I will ask our allergist when we see him tomorrow!! thanks
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#19 of 30 Old 04-08-2008, 10:58 PM
 
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Wow, I'm so glad I saw this! My dd3 is having the same EXACT issue and I'm at a loss and am taking her to the doc tomorrow. This is great information and thanks for this thread!

big hugs to you too....
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#20 of 30 Old 04-09-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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I got some atopiclair at the dermatologist today. Poor ds, I hope it helps!!
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#21 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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This is long but it may be of use to someone out there...

My 5 month old son has eczema and while it's very mild now it did flair quite badly when he was around 2 months old. His face, ears, scalp, eyes, and elbows had big, itchy, sometimes oozing patches. I could see where it was also spreading around his belly and a bit on his legs and hands...I was very distraught over this and wanted to try to find some kind of relief without using the steroids my pediatrician suggested.

I ended up taking my son to a local acupuncturist who is also trained and experienced in a Japanese form of needle-less, pressure point bodywork called "Sho-ni-shin". I took my son in once a week for 6 weeks and gave him the Chinese prescription herbs that were recommended with the treatment. I asked if there were any herbs that I could use as a compress and was given an herbal mix that I could put in his bath water to help dry up his oozing patches.

My son's skin improved dramatically with the acupuncture and herbs. I'd say 90% of the horrible, persistant eczema is gone. He still has some small dime-sized spots on his ears and a quarter-sized spot on his forehead.

I'm so pleased with the results of this treatment and would just like to tell others that if they are open to the idea, they should consider finding an acupuncturist who is trained in Sho-ni-shin and who also has experience treating infants and kids. Children's bodies respond very well to acupuncture so it may be worth a try if you've exhausted all other avenues...(now if a child is covered from head to toe with eczema - with no healthy skin to work on - then this treatment may not be an option... but I'm not exactly sure).

Another resource I found very helpful is the National Jewish Hospital's web site. National Jewish is the #1 respiratory hospital in the US (Denver) and they have a department that specializes in pediatric eczema and allergies. The site lists a toll free number that people can call to talk to the pediatric nurses about their children's eczema. I called this number and found the nurses very supportive and knowledgeable. I know the hospital's eczema clinic teaches and recommends wet/dry wraps for eczema...

I live in Colorado and have taken my son to National Jewish for allergy testing...I was given some samples of the Atopiclair that is mentioned in the above posts (the pediatric doctor who saw my son was the leading doctor in the study of Atopiclair and eczema) I have not used any of the samples though. I was told by the doctor that the medicine is effective for treating mild to moderate eczema and that it is very expensive - $100.00 for 100ml tube. I read online that it contains shea butter and I've seen general posts online that some people can react to this?

My routine with my son:
*chinese herbs every day given orally
*Florababy brand probiotics given once a day
*bathe 2-3 times a day, 20 min, no soaps, pat dry
*moisturize within 3 minutes of getting out of tub. i slather on pure grapeseed oil all over body except scalp.
*moisturize all over, including scalp, with Nelson's brand Calendula cream. this stuff has worked great with my son - takes away redness, relieves itch, not greasy at all. i use it throughout the day as needed.
*dye and fragrance free laundry soap, 2nd rinse cycle.
*with the extreme flair-up i also used pure aloe vera to help soothe skin. haven't needed to use it at all since acupuncture.
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#22 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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My DD's is completely corn-intolerance. No corn = no eczema. I don't put anything on it, it just goes away about 4-5 days after she steals some food of my other kids, who can have corn. I did an elimination diet with her to find out all her triggers. And yes, she reacts to zucchini, so it's not impossible.

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#23 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 03:37 PM
 
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Also, the cats have to be out of the house at least 2-3 months before you can see results. My DH (cat-induced asthma) went to my brother's housewarming party and there hadn't been a cat in the house for 2 months, but there were rugs, and DH had to use an emergency inhaler within the first half hour of being there. So it will take a while to determine if that was causing it. How long have the cats been gone, and are there still carpets and upholstered furniture that could still have the cat hair on it?

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#24 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loriforeman View Post

use antihistamines to control the itching.
.
What type?
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#25 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#26 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 07:27 PM
 
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I didnt have much success with atopiclair, but I think because there was still dairy in my ds system. Now we are dairy free and he stays clear. When dairy has managed to get in to me, he shows it. We're just recovering from a flare up from Hylands teething tablets (lactose base). That being said, when he gets bad from dairy, I do use hydrocortisone. It is only once in a while, other wise he itches like a maniac, and it gets worse. I try benadryl, which helps after a while, but not as quickly. We are pretty on top of things, so our slip ups only happen once in a blue moon.
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#27 of 30 Old 06-19-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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I posted a question about DD's eczema on LWAB recently and got some great suggestions, (it's well worth reading) one of which was Neem Oil. Apparently it has natural steroid properties. I haven't tried it yet as my health food store didn't have it but it's on order

.
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#28 of 30 Old 06-20-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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WOW!!! This is a great post with SO much useful tips
Just an FYI Atopiclair has shea nut in it so beware and Elidel has a black box warning on it for the past 4 years from the FDA because it can cause cancer.
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#29 of 30 Old 06-21-2008, 04:20 AM
 
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My son is almost 2 1/2 and just a couple of months ago he developed eczema and we use several things

no soap baths
tea tree oil diluted in olive oil after his bath each night and every morning - it helps; rub it on the eczema
when he scratches too much and the spot gets infected we apply a thick layer or manuca honey and then put a bandage over it over night - the inflammation is GONE by morning; absolutely gone
also Waleda skin food or Waleda baby cream - on the eczema and all over his body; it helps

we are still in the process of determining the cause . the tea tree oil and manuca honney get rid of the eczema but then one of us (he is BF) eats the wrong thing and we are back to square one. But we have THE BEST Nurse Practitioner and she is EXTREMELY knowledgeable on the allergy topic so we are blessed to have met her. If you are on the Monterey Peninsula I will give you her number.

also check out the book "Is this your child?" by Doris Rapp M.D.

try to avoid the steroids...too many side effects...try manuca and tea tree oil
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#30 of 30 Old 06-21-2008, 08:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karin95 View Post
I didn't list everything we do, but your list is the one I would have written!

*We give him 2 20-minute baths a day. No soap. Fresh washcloth and towel for each bath.
*Goop him up with Vanicream & cortisone on the hot spots. (the vanicream lotion on his face, alternating with cortisone).
*We were wet wrapping him (for his arms and legs and chest) for a few weeks and now have stopped.
*We use a very "clean" detergent and it doesn't seem to aggrevate him.
*We are moving our cats to my MILs house and then we'll do a deep cleaning to get rid of as much dander as possible.
*He sleeps in an Amby hammock (much of the time) and we change his sheet on that daily, pretty much.
*We swaddle him to sleep, still at 7 month old, so he won't scratch in his sleep.
*All cotton clothing.

And we LOVE LOVE LOVE kidswithfoodallergies.com. It's been a lifesaver for us, truly.

Our TED includes:
Teff (grain)
nutritional yeast
olive oil
sea salt
zucchini
pears

We just added RICE this weekend (gave it to him directly and for us). So far so good *knocks on wood*.

I would just like to know if other people have cleared up bad eczema without steroids. We're afraid not to use them, because we just can't handle it getting back to being as bad as it was.
would you post your porridge recipe? sounds yummy!
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