Something that helped us greatly and kept us sane whilst patiently waiting for our dermatologist appointment to come through is a book that a dear friend found for us. It is David J. Atherton ‘Eczema in Childhood, The Facts‘. We have a secondhand copy but when we went to the a’s they told us that not a lot had changed, and she had trained under him, so I guess she knew! This book brought clarity on so many things for us, from understanding why it was happening, when and what to do about it. I highly recommend this book to any families in a similar situation.
Things I learned:
1. The word ‘irritation’ applies to both the skin and the mind. This is not coincidence and I can now easily spot tiredness when MIB starts to get a bit itchy and also helps me to spot when he’s feeling uncomfortable in certain situations.
2. Picture the skin like a mud flat that has dried out. If you leave it, it cracks and all sorts can get in through those cracks. However, if you water the mud (skin), the cracks heal up and form a better protective barrier. The dryer his hands are, the more likely he is to suffer uticaria.
3. The ‘Buddha Belly’ as we term it in our house (when MIB looks like he has an enormous pot belly) is normal for an atopic child. It is believed to be caused by irritation in the stomach and is more common when suffering a skin flare-up.
4. The fact that elastic in his trousers/pants/pj’s doesn’t seem to last is nothing to do with the quality of the clothes but to do with the erosive properties of the emollients we cover him in. If you are just starting out on a journey with a baby with eczema, start getting your sewing box ready.