My Kid has Eczema: Here’s What I Want You to Know

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my son’s five years of life, it’s that more people have eczema than I realized. I wrote a post several years ago about trying to stop the scratching (spoiler alert: we couldn’t). Years later, my son still has eczema, and there are some things I want you to know.

It’s been a long emotional journey.

He was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis when he was just a few months old. What started as a small rash on his chest quickly spread to most of his body. We tried essential oils, lotions, homemade remedies, special clothing, and it was all for nought. It wasn’t until he had an extremely bad flare-up that led to an infection that our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric dermatologist. We were told to throw everything we had been doing out the window and to follow a very specific regimen that included medicated creams. From the time he was first diagnosed to our visit to the dermatologist was nearly TWO years. It took so much trial-and-error, tears, and worry that I wish we would have seen the dermatologist sooner. If your child has eczema, please please please just go to the dermatologist.

He has allergies, but they aren’t the reason for his eczema.

Yes, his allergies can lead to a flare up, but that doesn’t mean his allergies are the cause of his eczema. They’re two separate things. He goes to an allergist and a dermatologist, both of whom address separate issues. In the beginning we were led to believe that decreasing allergens would decrease flare ups. That’s not really the case. Just like allergies, eczema can be treated, but can’t be cured.

It’s a constant itchy struggle.

Every single day we follow the regimen given by his dermatologist. We only use free and clear laundry detergent (Method brand, in case you’re curious). We bathe him daily. We apply prescription creams to spots where he’s broken out–in between fingers, knees, and eye lids seem the most common these days. We moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Even though we follow the regimen and he stays pretty clear most of the time, he still has flare ups. There’s no rhyme or reason.

Eczema opens the door to a whole slew of other issues.

Did you know the skin is the largest, most important barrier to infection? In my son’s first year, he had pneumonia twice and bronchitis. The next year he had a staph infection. The year after? Molluscum contagiosum. It felt like every month we were in the doctor’s office for some issue that was “common for kids who have eczema.” Great. As if eczema in and of itself wasn’t enough, now we had other issues to deal with. Fortunately, once we got his flare ups under control, the other issues subsided.

If I had a dollar every time someone told me “did you try {insert homemade all natural remedy here} instead of using a prescription?” I’d be set for life.

I know these suggestions all come from good intentions. I also am not going to argue that your coconut oil/essential oil blend worked on your neighbor’s cousin’s kid (or even your own for that matter). But, you need to realize that eczema is a broad term for dry itchy skin. It’s cause or specific treatment is best determined by a doctor who has seen the gamut. I know mamas prefer to treat at home before stepping into a doctor’s office. I’ve been there myself! For TWO years!! So, when I respectfully decline your all-natural remedy suggestion, it’s not because of you. It’s because I’ve gone through SO MUCH to find what finally works for my kid.

I want other moms to know they’re not alone.

I’m there. I understand what it’s like to just want your child to feel comfortable in their own skin. I know the frustration of the trial-and-error, trying to find something that works. All you want to do is right by your child, and with everyone throwing their own opinions and testimonies into the mix, the water gets muddy. Do I go to the doctor? Do I try all natural? Am I doing the right thing? I get it.

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