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#1 of 17 Old 05-23-2002, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need advice from those of you have experience with the red cheek phenomenon . . .

My breastfed 8-month old son has had red, chapped, swollen cheeks off and on since he was about 3 months. Yes, he is teething (has 2 teeth now), and the pediatrician, my mom and the cashier at the baby store (among others!) insist this is teething rash. My intuition says otherwise.

He had one major skin crisis at 5 1/2 mos which looked like hives to me (happened one day after tasting banana as first solid food), but the dr. diagnosed it as eczema. The full-body hives and sandpaper-like rash cleared up after 3 weeks, but only after I religiously cut-out wheat, cow's milk, and soy. The cheeks have remained, however, so I have since cut out citrus, eggs, nuts, chocolate, corn, tomatoes, and berries. They're still red and inflamed. If this were just a cosmetic issue, I'd be willing to wait it out, but I am so afraid it is a warning sign that eczema (and asthma) is lurking and I SO want to prevent later allergy problems for him, if I can.

Could this possibly be due to something as simple as the weather? I did notice an improvement after a few days at the beach and one week in the spring when it was unseasonably hot and humid. (It has been cold here in NC for a week or two . . . never thought I'd be wishing for the HEAT!!!) If it was a food allergy to something in my milk, wouldn't some other part of his body be affected? Could it actually BE due to teething? Did anyone else conclude this with your babes?

And BTW, I do put homeopathic calendula cream in an all-natural base on his cheeks hourly, followed by a layer of lanolin. One cheek will clear up completely for a while, then they're both a mess again. I'm interested in other remedies, but more interested in the cause.

Please help, experienced mamas! The medical community has SO very little to offer me (and even the naturopath, osteopath, and chinese herbalist we've seen have been stumped!). I'm hoping one of you will have some insight for me!

Fingers Crossed in NC!

P.S. Forgot to mention that I AM eating goat's milk cheese . . . will cut that out next, but would love to hear if anyone else has heard of a sensitivity to it. THX!
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#2 of 17 Old 05-24-2002, 09:54 AM
 
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You know, I don't have any real advise.. but my now 17 mo. old son had this terible rash around his mouth for the past 4 months.. I tried everything I could think of and was also afraid it was eczea or something equally horrible.. but guess what? After all that time he got 4 molars in like a week and now his rash is gone. I really thought this rash could not be from teething.. it was way too long and NOTHING got rid of it. but it has now cleared up and for the first time in over 4 mos. his face is clear.
Just wanted to share my experience so that you can hold out hope that it is just from teething...

BAU
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#3 of 17 Old 05-24-2002, 05:22 PM
 
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My ds had the same sort of red cheeks as a bby and toddler. Cutting out dairy made it go away, also eucerin helped. But you seem to have cut out a lot of the possible allergens so maybe it is teething?:
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#4 of 17 Old 05-24-2002, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support.

BAU3: It is comforting to hear that teething may in fact be the culprit. We just saw the ped. today and he is 100% confident that's what it is. Oy. I guess at some point I may just have to trust the guy! I suppose only time will tell!

Being a mom is tough work, huh?!?!
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#5 of 17 Old 05-25-2002, 06:03 PM
 
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It's been a cinnamon allergy for my two kids. My son got red cheeks after eating cinnamon himself, but my daughter gets red cheeks from breastmilk if I've had too much cinnamon for her system. In our case, it goes away with age.

At any rate, I'd bet it's a mild food allergy of some sort. Good luck tracking it down!
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#6 of 17 Old 06-02-2002, 09:15 PM
 
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My toddler had the red cheeks also. My naturopath focused on two things: 1) Trouble digesting white flour, dairy and sugar, and 2) Cleaning out bacteria in the digestive system that was interfering with his digestion. She used an herbal black walnut/wormwood combo to do this, and I restricted those foods from his diet.

He used to have vomiting episodes that would go on intermittently over several days. Certain foods would come back out as soon as they hit his stomach. I am happy to report that he is doing so much better. He has actually been eating some of the offending foods lately, and the rash has not re-appeared. I am going to have him checked again to see if he needs any more herbs. If you could find someone that uses muscle testing, they can really zero in on the underlying problem. You have obviously been addressing the diet aspect, so maybe there is a bacterial situation like my son had. Best wishes in your search for answers!
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#7 of 17 Old 06-03-2002, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks BabyPhat & Katherinein CA. I'm wondering what the rash looked like on your children -- Was is just like flushed, red cheeks, or were there actually raised, scaly patches? Since my elimination diet has been totally ineffective so far (as have the naturopathic remedies like probiotics and special teas), I went ahead and applied some prescription cream which is neither an antibiotic or a steroid, but does act as an immuno-supressor. His cheeks cleared up INSTANTLY and have flared up only once (~12 hours after I had one bite of cream cheese!). The ped. takes this as an indication that it's just the prolific drool irritating his skin (except when I'm eating dairy).

The last thing I want to do is suppress his body's natural reaction to stress, but if it really is just the drool, then I'm happy to keep up with the
prescription cream. So I'm curious about what other babies' cheeks looked like and whether they were similar to his (which get inflamed, then the skin cracks and peels, then are just red and bumpy for a few days until they get swollen again).

Any thoughts?
THANK YOU!
E.
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#8 of 17 Old 06-03-2002, 09:17 PM
 
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He had the red, inflamed cheeks with a bumpy rash. I don't remember any cracking/peeling. Have you seen "Is This Your Child?" by Doris Rapp? I know she addresses red cheeks, there's even a picture of a child with them on the back cover. I'm glad the cream is helping. It's tricky to be doing this detective work, isn't it?
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#9 of 17 Old 06-03-2002, 09:58 PM
 
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I will be more specific than I was in my last post:

my ds, who is now 4, his cheeks always looked windburned. That's it. Dd, who is now 8 mo, almost totally bf, has severe eczema, and her cheeks (before I started treating them with ELIDEL) would do this: look red, chapped-get bumpy-start to weep a clear liquid-crust over, then flake off. Sometimes they would get really bad and start to bleed in spots.

There have been some really good threads here about eczema. I also recommend "Is this your child?" I just checked it out from the library, and it seems to be very detailed.

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#10 of 17 Old 06-03-2002, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like I gotta get that book! And yes, Elidel is the magic cream we've been using. I guess he really does have eczema and I should just thank my lucky stars that he has it only on his cheeks (except when I eat dairy). BTW: Dr. Jay Gordon's web site says that women w/family histories of allergies can prevent them in subsequent babies by avoiding ALL dairy during pregnancy. Wish I had known. Oh well . . . just one of the many times I'll be reminded that I'm not perfect! (My baby is, though!!!)

Thanks again Katherine & JTsMom!
E.
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#11 of 17 Old 06-03-2002, 10:25 PM
 
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eleanorl, I have heard that, too about avoiding dairy, unfortunatley, it is too late for me, as I am definately NOT HAVING ANYMORE CHILDREN. (did I make my point?):LOL

Anyway, my dd is the same age as your ds, hers started on her cheeks, and now is on her hands. I was worried at first that it would scar(it hasn't) and thought it couldn't be any worse than on her face, but I am sure that having it on her hands is much worse, especially when she wants to feed herself and gets food all over them and then rubs them on the high chair tray and makes them all red and bleeding.



I have noticed that it moves around her body and seems to bother her more when she is tired :

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#12 of 17 Old 06-04-2002, 08:46 PM
 
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Hello Eleanor,

I am going through the same thing with my baby boy (7 mos). He has eczema on his cheeks and it looks very similar to what you described:red, scaly, bumpy, flaky, oozy.

I just started a no gluten no dairy no chocolate no sugar diet yesterday and then maybe will expand it to no corn, nuts, eggs, soy if I see no results.

My mother's naturopath wants me to see him because he thinks we both have candida, so that is another avenue I could explore if the diet does nothing.

I use a 1% cortizone cream on his cheeks, sparingly, and I get immediate results. I can control it with the cortizone, but don't want to keep using a steroid cream plus if there is an underlying food or environmental allergy I want to root it out.

I tried a homeopathic cream for eczema and it did nothing.

His only other symptom is he kind of tends to breath heavy, so of course I am terrrified he will develop asthma. He has only had one cold in his life and luckily it didn't enter his lungs, so so-far-so-good.

I am interested in hearing more from you if you find something that works. I don't know anyone who has dealt with this.

I did get Is This Your Child? from the library and although it doesn't have a lot of information specifically about asthma it does talk about allergy testing and elimination diets and it is just a really interesting well written book, so you might check it out.

Please keep in touch as it would be a relief to be able to talk to someone about it who is going through the same thing.

Erica
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#13 of 17 Old 06-29-2002, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All,

Just wanted to go on the record about the Elidel (prescription discussed above) and it's side effects . . . While it may work for some, after only 2 days of using it, my baby started a low-grade fever which lasted for 8 days. He then developed a sniffle which led to an ear infection. Up until this point, he had never been sick. Now while the ped. will insist that it was just time for his first cold (one that lasted 3 weeks?!?!), my husband, my naturopath, and I are convinced that the Elidel made him vulnerable. I knew it was an immuno-suppressor, but I just kind of blanked on the fact that this could weaken his immune system to the point of him getting sick. And in fact when I finally read the package insert, it clearly says that Elidel is not recommended for use on babies, because "the effects on the developing immune system are unknown." That's enough for me. Wish I read the @##$&* insert FIRST, but you know, it gets tiring always being on the defensive with the doctor! Now I know.

And just another tidbit I've learned: The skin on the face is highly absorbent (if that's the right term), such that anything applied topically gets into the bloodstream very quickly. This of course applies to cortisone, too.

It's a jungle out there, so good luck to those of you trying to muddle through and find relief for the little ones! And love to those babies with the red cheeks!
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#14 of 17 Old 06-30-2002, 04:19 PM
 
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Thank you elenor for the heads up! We have still been usin gthe elidel in combination with steroid cream. Can't figure out what the *&^$$& is causing this eczema. Also,she's been getting hives a few times in the past few weeks. I hate this, I feel so bad for this poor little girl. I went to a seminar this weekend about eczema. The drs said they don't know what kind of side effects will come from prolonged use of elidel or protopic, because they are so new.

I posted on another eczema thread here, got some new info about "hydrating" These drs said to soak in warm water for 20 minutes, then grease up with cream or oinment (vaseline or aquaphor) not lotion. They said lotion is bad. Couldn't hurt to try. They said to do this every day.
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#15 of 17 Old 06-30-2002, 04:30 PM
 
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I've been doing them now for about 6 months and I just wanted to say that it really really really helps with the eczema but doesn't get rid of it completely.

don't be suprised but it can take up to three weeks to see results.


I've been using steriods on the face as sparingly as possible, mostly because I want to avoid the bloody scratching that ensues. I don't feel good about him having open wounds on his face.

jtsmom: My ds has been having mysterious hives lately too.
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#16 of 17 Old 06-30-2002, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maxwell had hives too, that lasted until I gave up dairy, wheat, AND soy. (Don't know which one was the offender -- they're all still out.)

jtsmom: I know what you mean about feeling terrible for your little one. Some days I just feel sick with worry. Be careful with vaseline, however -- it's a petroleum product and I was just reading that petroleum is a source of free-radicals (cancer-causing). We've been using Nelsons Homeopathic Calendula Cream, with lots of success on his body (not the cheeks, however). It's in a natural base of avocado oil, almond, oil, and cocoa butter, and that's it. It's pricey ($6/ounce), and we go through a tube each week, but we feel it's worth it. In any case, I guess the point is just to use the misc. products (Elidel, cortisone, vaseline) sparingly.

Pumpkinseed: We just saw a naturopath yesterday and she gave me several herbal ideas (since the elimination diet has not cleared up the cheeks after 4 months), because I too am worried about the scratching and bleeding. If you want, email me directly and I'll share the ideas -- and any success we have . . . boy, do I hope we have some success!

Stay in touch ya'll (I am in NC, after all). Let's keep sharing ideas -- This is SUCH a frustrating problem!
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#17 of 17 Old 07-01-2002, 04:15 PM
 
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Just one other thought, since it's just on his cheeks & you're nursing...

What are you wearing? Do you wear perfume, cream, lotion - on your body or arms? What do you wash your clothes with? Do you use dryer sheets? Does he sweat a lot when nursing?

I can't read all the other posts right now, so sorry if repeating. But you might want to consider contact dermatitis or something similar. Skin can be much more sensitive when dry (like when the weather is cold.)

There may be something that is irritating the skin on his cheeks since they are in direct, compressed contact when nursing.

My dd's would occassionally get red cheeks and it seemed to be due to contact with my arm/elbow and them sweating. A clean, cloth diaper as a barrier helped.
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