I am writing this letter to share my experience with eczema and food allergies in children in hopes that it will help you and/or your child to suffer less.
First of all I want you to know I feel your pain, your discouragement, your frustration. You are trying absolutely everything to help your child, clinging to bits of hope that the next thing you try will be key. It seems that each child is different and what works for one may not work for the other. But, I would like to share my findings.
You see, I have 2 sons who I have gone through this illness.
Nothing in life has been harder. Not even labor pains or child birth in regards to the physical and mental aspects.
Here are 18 topics that I hope will help you:
ALLERGIES- It seems that once we found and eliminated our sons’ allergies, their eczema went away. Yes, there is probably a gut issue that is more a root cause behind their allergies, but eliminating the allergies and eczema so they are not miserable is the first step.
ALLERGISTS – some allergists will work with you, some won’t. Some will say that yes, the baby will be allergic to foods in your breastmilk. Others will insist that eczema will not result from what the mom is eating. (Not true at all!) Allergy tests can be both accurate and inaccurate. One son had a skin prick test done and blood work done that revealed allergies to foods. The other son had all his tests show up negative. We kept hounding the doc and eventually we started to get more accurate results.
DERMATOLOGISTS – All the dermatologists that we saw insisted that the boys could not have allergy tests until they were 4 years old. This is not true. Call the allergist and make an appointment.
INFECTIONS – I like to shy away from antibiotics as much as I can. I try to do a holistic approach. But, antibiotics for infections are way better than infection getting into a person’s bloodstream and getting that person even sicker while you are searching for which holistic approach works the best.
DIET- It was not until I started doing the GAPS diet with myself and boys (because I was breastfeeding) that they started to get better. I believe this was because gluten then was eliminated. (I also had to eliminate other things that GAPS allows such as eggs and nuts). It took 2 weeks minimum to 5 weeks max for them to get better because first the foods and the die-off from removing the foods had to get out of my body and then had to get out of their bodies as well.
LOTIONS AND CREAMS- We bought tons of creams and spend tons of money for them. Only Vanicream worked for my first son. No cream worked for my second son. Only jojoba oil with Roman Chamomile or Lavender essential oil worked for my other son. Other creams caused flares due to the hidden ingredients deriving from gluten, dairy, or corn.
STEROID CREAM – There was no good at all that came from steroid cream. Only bad. Steroid cream caused infections in both children. It also caused an addiction then adverse reaction in one son. We then had to “wean” him of the cream.
VITAMIN D3- a vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to autoimmune diseases such as eczema as well as asthma. Research I came across noted that if the pregnant mom is deficient in vitamin Ds that the baby is at risk of developing the disorders. I am proof of this. I was very sick with every one of my 3 pregnancies. With my first child the doctors discovered I was deficient in vitamin D3 so they put me on supplements. This child never had eczema and is allergy-free. With my 2nd and 3rd child I nor the doctors thought to check my vitamin D3 levels. I was very ill and never supplemented vitamin D3. These 2 children have severe eczema and food allergies. One thing to note is that if you start supplementing with vitamins, is to look at what else is added to the vitamins that you or your child might be allergic to (there could be traces of gluten, dairy, corn, etc).
ANAPHYLAXIS – With any food allergies, please carry an epipen. One son went into anaphylaxis and we were very far from a hospital. Luckily he was ok after an ambulance came, but it was very scary. You can read about it here. Epipen Jrs are only ok for children weighing 33lbs and more. For lighter weight children please ask your pharmacist if they can draw up vials of epinephrine for your child according to his or her weight. Otherwise I would recommend not feeding your child any new foods while not close to an ambulance service (who can administer epinephrine according to weight of the person).
COCONUT OIL – Many people recommend coconut oil as a moisturizer for those with eczema as well as almond oil. Both my sons flared greatly with these oils. We discovered later that one is anaphylactic to nuts. Coconuts are also now known to be a tree nut.
ESSENTIAL OILS – These seriously have helped not only with dealing with the stress of it all, but with healing skin. Bathing and compresses with tea tree oil and lavender are healing for infections. I am enrolled in Young Living and have a wholesale account through them. If you are interested in enrolling I will give you $50 off your enrollment price. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for this.
INGREDIENTS DERIVING FROM ALLERGY SOURCES – If there is any allergy, educate yourself on the scientific names in ingredients deriving from those allergies. Then check your labels for these ingredients (Sorbitol derives from corn).
BATHING- It is important to bath each day to keep infection down but this only works if the baths don’t dry out your skin or if you aren’t allergic to what you put in the bath.
Baths in Epsom salts, or Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, or diluted white vinegar may help some, but these dried out my son’s skin.
ACV- Apple cider vinegar: this worked to keep infections down for one son. I would put 1-2 cups of it in his daily bath. It however irritated my second son’s skin because I did not have a moisturizer to put in his skin after the bath (that he didn’t flare to) and the apple cider vinegar bath would dry his skin a bit.
The only baths my one son could take were baths with essential oils in an olive oil carrier.
GLUTEN- Gluten testing always came back negative, but it wasn’t until we took gluten out of their systems that my sons got better. If one son eats even one saltine cracker he will get a huge sore on his skin.
CLOTHING- 100% cotton for both baby and those holding baby seems to help.
CAR SEATS- To help my son not scratch while in the car seat when he was an infant I cut a towel lengthwise and used it to swaddle up his arms.
ADVOCATE- You have to be an advocate for helping your child because it really is a puzzle sometimes. You really have to be a detective and a scientist to see what works and does not work for your child.
SUPPORT- Like I said, this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through. There is not much support out there because no one really understands the struggle until they have gone through it all. Keep plugging away. You may be tired but know that the more you play detective the closer you are to your child having beautiful skin like this:
I hope this helps you, Erin