I is for… The Itchy & Scratchy Show

Posted on 13th April 2010 in cats/ child/ cream/ doctors/ eczema/ health/ Itchy & Scratchy/ oil/ skin/ son/ steroids

The Itchy & Scratchy Show……

My oldest son has had eczema for the whole of his life – 10 years. Today’s visit to the doctor has prompted me to write this blog as I feel the need to offload a little about how frustrated I am and how much of a failure I feel for not being able to save him from the pain, discomfort, embarrassment and distress he has to endure.

I include the word embarrassment in that list because unfortunately he does have children ask him if it is ‘catching’ and often gets comments about his appearance if his skin is particularly bad. When he tells me about these things I have to be very grown up and not ask for the child’s name so that I can pop round and ‘educate’ them a little…

I first noticed it after bathing him in the gorgeous smelling Johnson’s products that I had so coveted during my pregnancy. I so longed to bath my baby in those heavenly scented bubbles, then oil him and talc him! Sadly after a dip in the good stuff his skin was rough and red – where was my ‘smooth as a baby’s bum’ baby? I know it is incredibly selfish but I have to admit I felt a bit cheated!

I saw several health visitors for routine checks and they all said it was infantile eczema and that he would grow out of it.

I have seen countless GPs, dermatologists and have had a private appointment with a Paediatric allergy specialist. Everyone seems to try and treat his symptoms without trying to work out what the triggers are. It seems crazy to me to keep throwing medicine at him when if we could eliminate at least some of the triggers then surely he wouldn’t have the symptoms in the first place?

Where we’ve seen an immediate reaction we then try to avoid those things in the future. For example: ketchup; juice; apples; cut grass; dogs; sweets; bath products; soap; baked beans etc etc

Extra frustratingly, my sons dad (my ex husband) has a very cavalier attitude to the eczema and often tells my son that ‘mummy makes it worse by not letting you have things’ and, my personal favourite, ‘you’ll grow out of it when you are 7′. My son believed him. He was devastated after his 7th birthday when it didn’t go.

We saw the paediatric allergy specialist using private health care and he said the cause was Oral Allergy Syndrome and gave us a huge list of things which ‘could’ trigger the flare ups. But he stressed that not all of the things would. I asked if my son could have allergy tests (this was a private consultation after all so not bound but NHS financial limits) but he said it was impossible to just test for random things. For example if my son eats an apple, he has an immediate flare up and sometimes his lips even blister, so the doctor said he could test for allergy to apples as that was a specific thing…. Forgive me for questioning a man who has had many, many years of studying, training and experience – but what is the point in that?

You aren’t meant to use steroid creams for longer than 7 days at a time. I have said to every doctor I’ve seen that he uses steroid creams EVERYDAY. They all take one look at him and say ‘but how bad would he be if you didn’t?’

So, after today’s visit to the GP (who is lovely, and very understanding) we have hydrocortisone for his face, betnovate for his body, lipobase for everywhere, aveeno bath oil, a peak flow meter, nedocromil eye drops, sodium cromoglicate nasal spray, cetirizine antihistamine and montelukast tablets…

And of course Medised for when it all gets too much.

Sorry for such a downhearted blog, there wasn’t really a way to happy it up.

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  • Reply christinemosler 13th April 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Poor boy and poor you. It is so hard when you come up against determined medical opinion. I have an asthmatic and two who had exczema and grew out of it (to a point, girly still has it sometimes). Changing to goats’ milk had a dramatic effect on all of us, but I’m sure you’ve already tried that? Lots of sympathy to you, I’m sorry you had a down day. (((hugs))) x

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Thank you – we tried soya milk for a bit (yuck lol) but haven’t tried goats. Might give that a whirl x

      • Reply christinemosler 13th April 2010 at 3:11 pm

        Can recommend St Helen’s Farm goats’ milk, doesn’t tast goaty. x

  • Reply Emma 13th April 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Oh no , I remember you mentioning that your son suffered from it. Mine has only had it for a month and its getting to the both of us – cant imagine 10years of it!
    Sounds like the GP gave you alot of things today – I pray they work for him!!! Emma x

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 3:06 pm

      A lot of my friends babies had similar symptoms and did grow out of it so don’t be depressed by my 10 year tale! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the new regime makes a difference. Thank you x

  • Reply ShortyMcStompy 13th April 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Oh I am so sorry for your little boy :( I am 26 and have had severe eczema my whole life (my brothers grew out of theirs by and large). I know how he feels and how my husband feels watching me struggle and suffer without being able to help. It is a battle but I feel more positive now having found a GP who specialises in dermatology. Together we are moving forwards and it is amazing. I walked outside on a t-shirt this weekend for the first time in YEARS without having to cover somewhere up.

    Take heart, you WILL get there and we are all here for you xxx

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you Shorty you are so lovely. Such a shame you are still suffering at 26 but at least it sounds as though you are getting somewhere at the moment. Thank you for your lovely comment x

  • Reply Jay 13th April 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Ohhh :( I really do sympathise with your little guy. I had it for 20+ years til I found my cure, though I suspect I was very lucky. However, your little man is lucky to have someone who cares enough to do all they can to help him through it. From one eczema sufferer to another, {{{big hugs}}}

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you for your comment – what was your cure? I know everyone’s eczema is different but you never know it might help my little man too. x

  • Reply jfb57 13th April 2010 at 3:40 pm

    My ‘little one’ is now 33 & although his eczema is much better it is still there & really surfaces when he gets stressed. I was devasted when we found out it was probably my genes that gave it to him! I had so readily accused his father. As he grows he will be able to deal with it but I would make sure school knows & understands that he can get a bit upset by the constant comments. It would be a good PSHE lesson for them to know about it!

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks for your comment – I’m pretty sure he will have it for life in one way or another, fortunately he is very mature for his age so he is good at understanding that some people just don’t think before they speak! x

  • Reply Him Up North 13th April 2010 at 3:54 pm

    The litany of drugs, creams and lotions is very familiar. We too were told ES would grow out of his issues. However, the experts did not bank on OH. She has also had the same problems from being around 5 years old and knew it was long haul.
    It is frustrating not knowing the triggers. Apart from religiously keeping a food diary it is difficult to deduce the source of the problem, isn’t it?
    We suspect some fruits and some dairy products. Not exactly rocket science.
    You have my utmost sympathy. Best wishes.

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Seems a bit of an under investigated area in the medical world doesn’t it. Whenever we try a food diary we always find that something else could be a possible influence – ie a dog, high pollen count etc and the diary gets confused. Thanks for your comment x

  • Reply Josie @Sleep is for the Weak 13th April 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Urgh I feel for you :( And for your poor boy.

    Kai’s eczema is awful at the moment and I would hate the thought he would have to suffer through it for so long.

    As with all of these long-term problems, dealing with the attitudes of other people becomes harder than managing the problem itself. I hope that, working together, you can find ways of dealing with the discomfort of the physical symptoms, and the emotional ones too xx

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th April 2010 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks Josie, I hope Kai’s eczema will go soon – it does for a lot of children so don’t be disheartened by our 10 year stint! xx

  • Reply Rosanne Berry 30th April 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Just spent hours reading all your ( nearly not finished yet) posts, you are amazing! New to this and havent a clue what I am doing. Anyway had to say have you tried giving your son aloe vera gel to drink it is quite amazing stuff will take a few weeks probably to notice any difference. In saying that my kids now grown up laugh that I would even suggest it for broken leg!

    • Reply mrsljhall 30th April 2010 at 7:54 pm

      That is very kind of you :o) Right now, touch wood, fingers crossed, etc etc, his skin is OK, the current regime is working….how long for is another matter but right now this minute he is looking the best he has done for years! x

  • Reply matt 26th August 2010 at 4:29 am

    I just ran across your blog post. I myself am 29 years old, but I went through a very similar experience to that of your son’s. I had severe eczema as a child and I remember all the kids thinking I had permanent chicken pox. My single mother did everything posisble to try and help me. It was tough. She put socks on my hands when I went to sleep so that I wouldnt scratch all night and make the bed sheets and pajamas bloody. When I was 13 years old it all just kind of went away. I found this blog because I recently have had bouts of fullbody itching (eczema or psoriasis?). I also have had a lifetime of OAS issues. Noone understood why I was only allergic to raw forms of Apples, Carrots, Peaches and Almonds. They claimed it was pesticides, but thanks to the internet I’ve learned differently. I don’t know if there is a correlation or this applies to your son. All I can say, is thank you for being a caring mother and doing your best to help him. be careful of those creams…. also check out Dr Pagano’s Leaky Gut Syndrome book. I just read it and it was very helpful.


    • Reply mrsljhall 26th August 2010 at 8:19 am

      Hi Matt, Sorry to hear you had such a rough time. Eczema is just the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it! It does sound as though you and my son have very similar allergies – he said to me the other day that if he so much as thinks about an about it makes his teeth tingle! The National Eczema Society are on twitter (which is where most of us bloggers hang out!) and they are very good to chat to about symptoms and solutions. Thanks for the book recommend, I will take a look.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting.


  • Reply monkeystreehouse 7th September 2010 at 6:48 pm

    you’ve probably heard all the “natural” remedies but i’ve heard bathing in oats can be effective . put oats in cotton and run bath water over it . good luck

    • Reply mrsljhall 7th September 2010 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you – I’ve heard that suggestion before, must try it. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

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