Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Itch that Rashes

Eczema is surely one of the most evil scourges that ever afflicted a poor toddler's body.

My youngest has had terrible eczema since she was about 6 months old. Every change of season, illness, mystery allergy food or polyester costume sees her sensitive skin break out in an itchy rash, especially behind the knees and inside the elbows. Plus she gets it all over her body, perhaps excepting her feet and head.

Little ones have no reason. They don't understand that itching makes it worse. So she scratches until she bleeds in many places. I cut and cut her fingernails. I apply all sorts of ointments, creams and emollients to her baby skin. Nothing much helps. The best thing so far is smearing her head to toe with vaseline (I know, yuck!) when she is still wet from a bath. Then pronto into jammies so it doesn't get all over the carpet or sheets.

behind her poor little knees

I've had her tested for food allergies. Nada. My pediatrician informed me (after) that food allergies that present with eczema symptoms are notorious for false negatives on food allergy tests. Hmmmmm.....

So I still don't know if it is
a. citrus
b. strawberries
c. nuts
d. ????
that causes or affects her rash.

On particularly bad nights we do Benedryl. But I try to stay away from that if possible. Tight jammies protect her from her itching, but of course she wants to wear a loose nightie. If she gets her way we have a whole new set of scabs in the morning. Urg.

She looks afflicted. She IS afflicted. And she has developed the self-soothing habit of sucking her thumb on one hand, while scratching everywhere else with the other hand. There's a real healthy, socially acceptable habit. Huh?

Poor baby. It's so not fair. Wah!