Krina describes her son, Shiv’s, eczema journey.
My son was 5 months old when I first noticed red sore patches emerging on his face and body. His skin became spotty and blotchy. I had no idea what it could be. It looked like an allergic reaction to something. I kept on applying coconut oil (specified for babies) on his body to calm the irritation but the red patches were appearing everywhere! I took him to see a doctor who informed me it was eczema and prescribed topical steroids.
I didn’t know babies could develop eczema so young. We have had so many appointments with doctors over the years and I remember one appointment when the doctor said ‘I haven’t seen a case this bad ever’. This broke my heart. You feel so helpless as a parent even when you feel you are doing everything you can.
You feel so helpless as a parent even when you feel you are doing everything you can.Krina
During his baby and toddler years my son would itch and scratch a lot. There would be blood stains all over his bed sheet and pillowcase in the mornings. One of us would sleep with him all night to prevent him from itching. In nursery, the staff would have to change his clothes daily as they would be covered in blood stains from all the itching. We later discovered Scratchsleeves which really helped with the cuts and bleeding but the eczema was still there.
We took my son to A&E once after his whole face got infected. It was red, sore, puffy, dry and weeping. His skin regularly became infected due to all the cuts and we were prescribed topical antibiotic steroids to deal with the infection and eczema flare up. My son was referred to a dermatologist as a baby, which resulted in being prescribed various new stronger topical steroids.
My son is now 6 years old and when his skin flares up, no amount of cream or oil gives him any relief. When he was a baby/toddler I would moisturise him head to toe every 2 hours but that was still not enough. We always end up using topical steroids to calm it down which works a miracle for the duration we use it. However, as soon as we stop or reduce, it all comes back again!
We have tried everything! We have been through nearly 20 different emollient creams and various other oils and bath products, but nothing has worked!
I have also tried cutting certain food groups from his diet, changing his washing powder, eliminating any carpet/curtains/rugs to reduce the dust in our house, giving him baths twice a day and taking antihistamines all to get his eczema under control and provide him with some relief. This is such a difficult skin condition to get under control naturally, especially for a child.
Now that my son is a little older, he is more aware of his skin and is becoming conscious of how it looks. The appearance of eczema bothers him and he gets upset when his skin looks all red and inflamed. He would say ‘Mummy why do I have to have eczema’ and ‘I don’t like my face’. This is something I didn’t have to worry about when he was a baby.
He has been steroid free nearly 4 weeks now and his skin is going through a really difficult time. The eczema has flared up everywhere, even in areas he didn’t have it before. I believe we are going through TSW.
The prolonged use of topical steroids is something as a parent I have been extremely concerned about. I have been applying topical steroids on his skin for 6 years! This cannot be the only way to treat severe eczema.
NES note: We understand how frustrating it can be when treatments don’t work effectively, or don’t work effectively for long. If you’re in a similar situation to Krina, we recommend that you ask your GP for a dermatology referral. Dermatologists are able to prescribe different treatments for more severe eczema.