So, I have two sons who both have the itch. The itch that is worse in winter. The itch that keeps them awake at night. The itch that drives us all crazy.
I’ve read that eczema is worse in winter because the temperature drops which means a drop in humidity. Lower humidity means drier skin – overall Cape Town eczema is worse than Durban eczema. Heaters and air conditioners also dry out your skin which means that winter comes with a double dose of dehydration. Winter usually also means spending more time indoors which increases your child’s exposure to allergen triggers like house dust mites and pets. Adoption literature points to the insight that eczema flare-ups could be a psychosomatic symptom of internal stress that you child is experiencing. So many potential triggers! I think eczema is usually a combination of all of the above.
There are many different approaches to dealing with eczema, but I’ll let you know what we’re doing to manage our itch situation and what we do when we are faced with a flare up. Our treatment program is an individualised program for our boys and is endorsed by our dermatologist and paediatrician – so what works for us may not work for you. If you’re in the same boat as us, you’ve probably tried every cream on the shelf at Clicks and every remedy recommended to you but when you find something that works for you (that glorious day!), you’re not really willing to mess with a winning formula. If you haven’t found a good skin care regime yet, listen up.
Here are some skin care tips that have worked for us:
-Bath the kids with Epizone E ointment instead of regular soap and pop a few drops of Epizone Bath Milk into the bath.
-Use Babaderm Shampoo & Conditioner. Wash your kids hair in the shower (or at the end of their bath time) and make sure that you rinse them thoroughly from head to toe after you’ve washed their hair. I’ve found that the Babaderm shampoo doesn’t irritate eczema-prone skin as much as other shampoos.
-Use Epi-max Plus (with urea) all the time as a moisturiser. And I mean all the time. Be very generous when applying the Epimax and let it soak in slowly.
-Use prescription cortisone during a flare up – we use Mylocort for the face and Lenovate for the body (Lenovate is much more cost effective than Advantan – ask your Doc). We find that the ointment is better than the cream.
-Give your kid anti-histamines before they go to bed. We use Texa syrup.
-Keep their nails short. That’s right, snip snip snip. We’ve tried everything to stop the kids from scratching, including wearing mittens at night, but the best thing to do is just to keep their nails short.
-Figure out what food makes the kids itch and avoid it. For us that’s dairy, fish fingers and crumbed chicken, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Good luck with your itchy kids, Mamas – I feel your pain! On the upside, our paed reckons that they’ll outgrow their eczema by the time they start school. That’s only a few years away so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Anyone got any miracle cures that I haven’t heard about?