Help with Eczema and Staph - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 12-19-2008, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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It has been a while since I've posted, so I apologize in advance if I fail to follow normal protocol.

Back story:
About a month ago, my 6mo son's eczema on his face tested positive for Staph Au. We took the allergist's advice and gave him the generic of Keflex. I didn't give my son Benadryl, but I reluctantly applied 0.5% hydrocortisone cream and Mupirocin ointment to the spots. The eczema was limited to his face. The Staph seemed to subside.

Then his RAST tests came in, and he tested negative for everything on both food and aeroallergen panels. This dumbfounded me because I was certain he reacted to dairy in my diet (I breastfeed.) A nurse said that it could just be "normal baby eczema," and that eating dairy was probably ok. I reintroduced dairy, though, and sure enough, the eczema on his face resurfaced and became bright red. Just after we had finished 10 days of antibiotics.

We use Free and Clear detergent, extra rinse, and have since stopped using all soaps. The only lotion I apply is California Baby super sensitive. I occassionally use Dr. Smith's diaper cream, but have started using Burt's Bees since it looks like there is no fragrance. Tried Eucerin and Aquaphor, but he broke out -- my dad warned me lots of people are allergic to lanolin, found in both products.

Then recently, my son's eczema exploded and spread to his trunk and limbs. It looks awful. Last night, he awoke around 2am and could fall asleep until 4am because of the scratching. My husband and I tried everything too soothe him naturally and I was on the verge of giving him Benadryl.

I did realize that the eczema spread around the time he started crawling...we live in a rented house and there is carpet. There's not much I can do about that, so I suppose this long post is a plea for any advice or tips to control the eczema. He is again infected with Staph, and I have the antibiotics in the fridge. Although I hate subjecting him to medicines so young, it's a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Any advice on how to control this? I don't want to wean. I have heard that babies on extra hydrolyzed formulas still have a higher risk for asthma. Plus, I just don't want to wean, although I have not been the most vigilant about keeping dairy out. I dont' even know if it's dairy, and if there are other culprits.

Whew. Sorry again for the length. Anything helps!
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#2 of 7 Old 12-19-2008, 05:04 PM
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I'm so sorry It could be the carpeting- can you have it cleaned and see if that helps? If there's pet dander in the carpet from a previous tenant he might be reacting to that.

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#3 of 7 Old 12-19-2008, 05:41 PM
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First, the RAST will only show you immediate-reaction/anaphylactic allergies. They will not show delayed-reaction allergies or intolerances. So it's very possible that your son is in fact allergic to dairy, even if it didn't show on the RAST. Also, RAST is notoriously innacurate for children under 2yo.

Second- food allergies/intolerances are often (maybe always?) caused by a dysbiosis or imbalance in the gut, which leads to damage, increased permeability... which allows the larger food proteins to enter your bloodstream where your body will attack them (allergic reaction.) Antiobiotics will further disrupt the gut flora and cause more of an imbalance, which can make the food allergies worse!!!

Of course, there are times when abx are necessary, but will a food allergic kid I would avoid them at all costs!!!

This is not something that I advocate, but I would do it before abx.... Our new allergist told us that she's had great results from bleach. Yes, bleach. Because of the staph bacteria on people's skin that have eczema (the way she described it, the staph bacteria are part of the eczema, not necessarily an infection, but I could be wrong about that). She said to put about 2 T. in an entire bathtub full of water, so obviously much less for a baby bathtub.

Like I said, it's not something I would suggest doing on a regular basis, and I personally would NEVER use bleach... UNLESS the infection was bad enough that abx were your only option.

What I do when DD's eczema flares is wipe down her face a few times a day with a mix of water and TTO, which has natural antiseptic/antifungal properties. It keep the eczema from getting infected.

Back to the cause of the eczema.... IMO, there is no such thing as "regular baby eczema". It is almost always triggered by a food reaction. Have you kept a food journal of what you're eating to see if you can spot particular foods that might be irritating him? Other common triggers for babies are soy, eggs, wheat, and corn.

Mom to DD1 (10/07) and DD2 (3/11)
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#4 of 7 Old 12-19-2008, 05:51 PM
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I'm assuming you've removed dairy from your diet again? Did you cut out ALL amounts, both hidden and trace? I'm guessing that he's reacting to more than just dairy if it improved with elimination but did not go away entirely. Soy is a common allergy for people with dairy allergy. After that, you should consider the other big ones: corn, wheat, eggs, etc. As you probably know, testing isn't always accurate. Our ped allergist told us that and said observations trump test results.

It's definitely possible that the carpet is irritating his sensitive skin and making it worse, but it sounds like you've got some food triggers to address first. Also, personally, I wouldn't treat for staph. Staph live all around us and on our skin. It takes over when we have other issues. I'd address those issues first by eliminating offending foods and strengthening the immune system through probiotics, fish oil, glutamine/bone broth, vitamin C, etc.

Before we figured out that my dd had allergies, she had awful weepy, crusty, peeling eczema all over her body. She had some bacterial infections and yeast infections with it. We tried creams (one prescription and then, otc hydrocortisone and a yeast cream), but we never got a handle on it until we got rid of the bad foods. The staph and yeast went away on their own after that.

Carpet can definitely irritate already sensitive skin. Can you keep your lo in footed pjs so skin doesn't touch the carpet? We wash in a Free and Clear detergent, but others have had problems with them (hopefully someone will chime in).

The lotion that works the BEST, imo is Vanicream. It's an OTC, but you have to buy it online or at a pharmacy. They usually have to special order it (I've gotten it at Walgreens and at Walmart). California Baby is safe for us (we use the body wash a couple times a week), but the lotion is not thick enough to really moisturize. We only wash with soap a couple times a week as I said. Mostly, we wash with just water or with Cetaphil. More than that, and our los' skin gets too dry. Daily warm baths are important, imo, to keep the skin hydrated.

If you check out the "resources" sticky above and scroll down, there's a thread on elimination diets, and a few on gut-healing.
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#5 of 7 Old 12-19-2008, 07:01 PM
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I love it when a mother sees that dairy is a problem through her breastmilk, the doctors test for ALLERGY, and when it comes back negative, says "go ahead. drink milk." Helllloooooo?!?!?!?! Ever heard of intolerance? Apparently not (neither the pediatrician or the allergist I went to with DS had ever heard of such a thing either so I'm not blaming you by any stretch; I'm just amazed that my son is 8, and STILL there's ignorant doctors everywhere).

If you thought he was having a reaction to dairy, then take it ALL out. Every last bit. And as other mothers have said, look for other culprits (soy does go along with milk in a lot of cases, but egg and corn are big for eczema). Food journaling is a great idea, though it's hard with eczema since it takes a little while for it to clear up.

I went through two rounds of abx for staph folliculitis with DD2. It was all because there was corn (one of her known food triggers, which used to cause just eczema) in a probiotic I was giving her and I didn't realize it. As soon as someone suggested that there might be a hidden allergy in something I was giving her, I investigated everything, and found the corn. Took her off it. Within 2 days the "folliculitis" that she'd had for 2 1/2 months was clear. When questioned if it could possibly be a food reaction, the doctor said "I have never seen such a thing." Well, there's always a first time.

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#6 of 7 Old 12-20-2008, 02:35 AM
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My son's eczema started on his face, and we used steroids (sparingly, I thought) for a bit. That cleared his face up, but then abotu a month later it exploded not just on his face but on his trunks and limbs. This may be a case of having suppressed the eczema enough that when it resurfaces (did you ever discontinue the steroids?) it comes back stronger.

My son also tested + for staph under his fingernails (he had back marks under the nails on his middle fingers). Incidentally, he tested + for 3 other types of bacteria (including E. coli)! My ped. is pretty holistic and gave us abx, which I gave DS. Good thing, too, because CPS was on my case for an unrelated matter and they even took a pic of the partially empty bottle of abx to show I was giving it to him). However, at the same time, I went to a chiropractor who uses applied kinesiology and she told me to use a Bach's Flower Essence (it was mustard, in our case) to address underlying emotional issues. She said it would help the bacterial issues as well. The flower essences are homeopathic.

I would definitely trust your gut and avoid all dairy, perhaps look into ELISA testing for intolerances or go on an ED and keep records of reactions, address gut issues, and look into classical homeopathy if you can afford it. I am not suggesting your LO take a flower essence...I would have someone suggest/"prescribe" something for your LO.
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#7 of 7 Old 12-20-2008, 03:15 AM
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Testing is not very accurate at that age, any of them. I would just do an elimination diet and see what works. Definitely start with dairy and soy. But you do have to be hypervigilant. When ds1 had horrible itchy eczema from food allergies, I used Nelson's calendula cream, and it was the only thing that helped and didn't make it itch worse. I tried lots of other lotions and creams (all totally natural) and they would make it itch worse.
(My son was 3 or 4 at the time though.)

Hope he is feeling better soon. Poor baby!! But if you did an elimination diet right now, I bet you'd see at least some improvement overnight. That is what happened for us in the case of eczema.
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