My eczema journey has been an adventurous, stressful, and an insightful one. There are times when the stress was so high that I couldn’t think with a clear head, and especially when you hear sentences that start with “Have you tried…..” or “This other mom I know tried…..” or “Did something go wrong during pregnancy” to even “You shouldn’t feed your baby store bought baby food, that’s what caused food allergies.” or “Have you tried black magic, or this pandit, or that doctor, or this or that……..”
What worked for me?
- Realize that people are just trying to help, in their own way. I have done the same in past when my child didn’t suffer from such an agonizing condition. So, what you can do is, not do the same to others when your child is well because eczema does get easier with time (Must stay positive).
Simply say, “Yes, I’ll look into it, thanks.”, and move on.
- Feeling lost when someone else has “cured” eczema in their child. There have been many instances when parents claim to have cured eczema. You look at it and think you are not capable enough or doing something wrong. In reality, their child may not have had eczema that is severe, although many parents self-assess it to be “severe” or it may not have been eczema at all.
Take information with a grain of salt and filter it yourself for what it’s worth. Many times parents have told me their kids have no eczema, but in reality, the cream they were using everyday was a high potency steroid. So, be confident that you are doing your best, and that’s all you can do. No one else can do better for your child than you!
- Marketers pulling you in 100 directions, from candida, to GAPS, to Paleo, to detergents, to TSW.This one is a bit difficult because there is no single solution for eczema. What works for one may not work for another. However, many times I’ve followed a path, only to be convinced I’m wrong in my approach and change it in middle. In that, I learned nothing and caused extra anxiety.It’s important to try different things but realize the facts backed up by science will work first. My approach has been to give scientific methods or proven approaches a chance first and consider everything else secondary.As an example, if you switch to candida diet, you may have eliminated an allergen in diet, or if you changed detergents, maybe it was the scent in the detergent, not the sulfates. A person may think the diet worked, but in reality, it might be just food allergies.
Think clearly about possibilities and use a systematic approach for your own child. It’s difficult, but it’s the only way. One thing at a time!
- Give it two weeks at least! Whether it’s a new diet, new moisturized, new medicine, give it a few weeks. DO NOT expect anything to work overnight, or even in a few days. Your body just doesn’t work like that in most of the cases.
- Be wary of “no medicine” approach. Many parents do get scared of steroid overuse or candida overgrowth, etc. It led my son to have infections, stay out of school, and sitting with me holding his arms so he doesn’t itch was not fun for him, nor me. Use medicines to give your kids quality of life, especially if the solution you’re trying to find it taking too long.
- If nothing risk-free is working, choose the path with lowest risk to find relief. There’s always a risk! Medicines come with warning labels, so do airplanes. Driving a car is a risk and so is stepping out of the house. I learned that if nothing else is working, choose what works with minimal risk. Natural solutions were not cutting it with my son, I had to choose medicines, but I kept it under control.
- Not everything natural works!!! My son has multiple food allergies and going natural on him made his eczema worse. He’s allergic to so many herbs that using Neem soap gave him hives reaction. So, know that sometimes, it’s better to stay “unnatural” for the safety of your child.
- “Don’t use that, it’s so bad on their tiny bodies”, said a few teachers, relatives, and strangers. It is one sentence that left me feeling like a bad mother. I found relief when pharmacists or doctors would tell me “It’s okay, you’re not overusing it.”Use your judgment! You know the best for your child. In my case, finding relief for my itch driven, eczema and infection covered child was my priority. Bleach baths helped the most, but people would tell me I’m poisoning his skin, without realizing that it’s like swimming in a pool. Time has passed, bleach baths are a rare occasion, but I’m glad I kept them up because inside, I knew it’s not bad for him and they helped.
- “Let him eat everything, don’t stop feeding him stuff”, when I could be hyper-vigilant about nuts, foods, environment. I would think “I would do that if his tests didn’t show life threatening allergies to it!” Do I trust a stranger or scientific method at that point? When my son’s eczema has been under control for 3 days but there’s the party over the weekend that he must attend and you are trying to keep it under control. People just don’t understand.
Build thicker skin on yourself, when your child’s skin isn’t functioning well.
Smile and walk away, and just be confident that you are doing your best. Trust your doctors and ignore opinions with a backing.
- Look at studies. I always look at research everytime I hear opinions. Confirm your approach by looking at PubMed articles or Medscape research so you’re not on a wild goose chase.
- There is no magical or quick solution. I badly wanted to believe that there is, but there wasn’t any. It took me months to get past that and finally work my hardest I have ever and get it under control myself.
- Change with Eczema! Eczema changes over the years and so will your life with it. With severe eczema, it was always moving, new infections coming and going, especially as my son aged. I had to change with it. Expect a change for positive, sometimes negative, but keep on moving. Positive eventually comes.
- It does get better as your child grows! He’s able to better express himself, take care of himself, control his itch himself, and even tell me what works or doesn’t work. Your kids will learn to cope with it.
I think these learnings, along with many more, have helped me get through the past year. My son’s eczema made me a better person overall, and I learned to pick and choose problems, opinions, and advice in life.
What is your biggest frustration and how do you cope with it?