One of the questions that I get more than any other (including “are you sure that English is your first language?”) involves how we treat Jensen’s eczema. I just sent a blogging compadre, Valerie, our daily routine.
And she’s still speaking to me.
I know so many of you have kids that are dealing with skin issues. If you’ve followed this blog for the last few years, you know that we’ve been on a roller coaster ride as far as getting a proper diagnosis and then pinpointing a treatment that works for our boy.
From the time he was a little bitty guy, Jensen would try to scratch his own skin off. He also had other issues that simply stemmed from not being able to communicate his own discomfort. We saw a number of doctors which diagnosed him with everything from scabies (my personal favorite) to severe food allergies. For 9 long months my boy existed rice cakes and organic hot dogs. And little else. He was miserable.
And up until recently, he did not sleep through the night. He’ll be 5 in March. Do that math.
And you’ve been wondering why I write as though I’m deranged. It was sleep deprivation, my friends. And btw, I still write like I’m deranged. Now it’s just a fun part of my personality.
I’ve come to you all many countless times asking for advice for a whole bunch of issues. From my hair woes to my son’s skin condition. And you’ve always come through for me in spades. A lot of Jensen’s path to a cure is because of wonderful advice that I’ve gotten from readers of this blog.
I am so grateful for that.
We finally got a diagnosis from an pediatric allergist a little over a year ago. My son’s skin issues do not stem from allergies. He has severe atopic dermatitis. And it’s only skin deep. What he eats and drinks make no difference at all.
I wanted to document the routine that is working for us. So much of this has been trial and error, but I think we’re finally getting a handle on it. And Jensen is showing wonderful signs of significant improvement.
If you have a child that suffers from skin issues, always check with a doctor before changing their treatment. And while our regime works for us, it is always going to depend on the particular child.
Jensen’s doctor prescribed Hydroxyzine orally. When we started, we had to give him up to 4 teaspoons a day. We’ve been able to wean him down to 1 t. right before bed.
His doctor also prescribes Triamcinolone Acetonide (topical) on the super itchy red spots. We can apply this up to 2x a day if needed.
Okay, here’s where it gets really weird. We soak him in a tepid bath (no soap) for 20 minutes up to 2 times a day. When we get him out, we don’t completely dry him off. This is when we apply the Triamcinolone on the bad spots and really apply a thick layer of the Spectrum Vegetable Shortening (it’s really organic pressed palm oil, and it’s only about $7 for a large tub- WAY cheaper than Aquaphor, which can contain mineral oil, btw). I find Spectrum at the health food store. BUT, Walmart is starting to carry the Spectrum brand, so I’m hoping I can talk them into carrying the Spectrum Shortening. This is by far the best topical lotion I’ve ever found. It is what I call Lard, for fun. But it’s really not lard. But saying LARD makes me laugh. Because I’m 7.
BTW, do you remember when Jensen use to drink Neutrogena straight from the bottle? I guess even then he knew something that we didn’t.
Then I dress him in 100% cotton clothes and make sure he has socks on. And matches. Because matching is really important. Just kidding. He rarely matches. After a while, his clothes and sheets get really heavy because of all the goop I put on him, but now even his clothes stay moisturized… And I wash his clothes separately and make sure I put them on a 2nd rinse. And no dryer sheets or softener.
At night, because this is the worse time, after his bath and after all the goop, we put saran wrap on his hands and feet, then we put COLD WET SOCKS on his feet and hands over the saran wrap. And he wears long sleeved 100% cotton pjs. He doesn’t mind the cold wet part because it takes away the discomfort IMMEDIATELY.
In fact, if we’re out and he has an itchy attack, I keep “cold sticks” (those frozen long skinny things that you can put in water bottles to keep them cold) in the cold bag, and apply it to the itchy part. Ice works too. Takes the itch away immediately.
On really bad nights, we’ve been known to wet one pair of pjs, and put a dry pair on top. And he sleeps in them. (A reader gave me this tip, and then our doctor confirmed it.) Our doctor also recommended putting 1/4 cup of bleach in his bath water and then fill the tub very full. I kid you not. This helps to ward off infection if his skin is broken from scratching. Then we rinse him well. (And as a bonus, the bathtub comes out SPARKLY white.)
All of this is just part of our routine now. We don’t even think twice about it. And Jensen is completely used to it and complains very rarely.
Unlike his mother who literally yelped when he wrapped two very cold wet besocked arms around me tonight before bed.
Thank you to all of you who have graciously shared with me your tips and recommendations. And if any of you are new, and have a child suffering with Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema, I hope you find something in this post that will help. And if nothing else, please know that you’re not alone.
Another community of bloggers that I rely heavily on for all sorts of tips and information can be found here at Works for Me Wednesday!