My little boy Cathal, was born in 2007 with severe and multiple food allergies, and severe eczema (both are commonly linked).
Although I was already passionate about cooking at home, I still found it difficult to cater for Cathal, until I learned how to cook allergy free meals, and so I developed lots of recipes suitable for him. He is now a happy, healthy 5 year old, and you would never know that he still has food allergies, or eczema.
The first thing I had to do was get his eczema under control. Then I concentrated on his food allergies.
To get his eczema under control, in co-operation with my G.P., a trial and error basis of treatment was needed. Every child is different, but what worked for Cathal was a multi-tiered approach. Because his skin was infected, he first of all needed an anti-biotic. Then, our G.P. recommended bathing Cathal in a tepid bath (on the cool side of tepid) with lots of Aqueous cream (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/skin-and-hair/medicines/aqueous-cream-bp.html).
The method we used for adding the Aqueous cream to the cool/tepid water was to put a good sized tablespoon of cream into a jug, pour in boiling water, and whisk the cream into the water until it looks like milk, then add this to the bath. We found that this was the best way to dissolve the cream into the water, which was essential.
Our G.P. told us that Cathal would need numerous baths every day (always an Aqueous bath), and that every child has a ‘magic number’ of baths that work for that particular child. Cathal’s number was 5 baths a day. Cathal was only 2 months old at this stage.
The first signs of improvement to Cathal’s skin came within a month of bathing him 5 times a day. However, it took 5 months before we were able to reduce his baths to 3 times a day. This quickly fell to twice a day, and his eczema was fully under control at this stage. We were still, of course, under constant medical supervision by our G.P. who, thankfully, had a special interest in treating skin conditions, and who gave us great encouragement along the way.
The G.P suggested using Silcock’s Base (a similar cream). However, we found that this irritated Cathal, and did not work for him. I had already been using Aqueous cream, and so we tried this, and found no further irritation occurred. It has been widely said, that using Aqueous as a soap in this way, is suitable and should work well, for most if not all children. However, using Aqueous cream as just a cream, will not work in all cases.
So, the bath itself consisted of laying Cathal into the ‘milky’ tepid water, to soak for 10 minutes. Then removing him to a warm (but not hot) towel, and gently patting him dry (never rubbing the skin). Our G.P. had prescribed steroid cream for the bad patches of eczema, so the steroid cream was put on twice a day, at this stage of the process. Finally, we would then fully cover him in Aqueous cream from head to toe, letting the cream soak into his skin (about 2 minutes) before dressing him in clean clothes each time. A clean towel and clean clothes were used for each bath.
With regard to Cathal’s food allergies, I suspected from almost the outset that Cathal’s severe eczema was being caused by food allergies, as it is most unusual for a baby to be BORN with a rash that turns out to be eczema. We attended a specialist, and a RAST blood test for food allergies was undertaken. This told us exactly what foods I had suspected he was allergic to. I could then concentrate on what foods Cathal could eat, and I tried not to focus on the foods he couldn’t eat! This is one of my important messages to Allergy Parents – focus on what your child can eat, not on what they can’t!
As mentioned above, Cathal is now a healthy happy 5 year old, and he has no patches of eczema. Of course, we have to be very careful with his food, his clothes, and the allergens he comes into contact with. There are plenty of questions around these areas, if you want to ask me about my experience, just contact me. This is why I have started this site – to bring more awareness to the area of allergies, and to help people through having experienced them first hand with Cathal.
Please feel free to contact me through the website or Facebook page. Let’s build a support community here!