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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Our eczema story

Long post alert:

I feel somewhat compelled to share about Echo's eczema. It has been an arduous road and what we've learned, I feel I just must share in hopes it can help any of you. I will be as brief as I can, after all no words could describe how hard it was with his extreme eczema which covered his little body from the top of his head down to his ankles.

Starting in early December, when Echo was about 3 months it all began. Since I had experienced a similar situation with my first son, I immediately eliminated ALL dairy, egg and wheat out of my diet. This did not help much and for the next 2 months we would be in and out of the pediatrician's office, 2 different dermatologists and an allergist many times chasing our tails. It was hard, and bad, I mean blisters on his face bad, google images bad.

Echo ended up having a severe staph infection because his skin was breaking down and because of so many open areas on his body. The pediatrician tried to help as much as possible, suggested countless ($$) prescription products which we tried, but even he admitted/implied there was little to do besides wait for him to outgrow it.

Baby did 2 consecutive rounds of antibiotics and still was back to square one. The topical steroid the dermatologist prescribed was the only thing that worked and we used it a lot for a couple of months. If we wouldn't use it, we'd be back to infection. The appointment with the allergist revealed a couple of allergens : soy, fish, nuts. After eliminating those we saw a little improvement, but it was still bad.

The second dermatologist we saw, pretty much told us there was NO CONCRETE relation between eczema and food allergies and prescribed oral steroids (which we never used). We were exhausted, extremely frustrated and quite hopeless;  then something major happened. I introduced Echo to his SECOND baby food: bananas. He immediately reacted with hives around his mouth after ingesting MAYBE 2 teaspoons! We washed off his face and the reaction went away quickly. That night (hours and hours later) he developed an ENORMOUS golf sized swelling in the back of his head. One of the scariest things I've experienced.

This was the apex of the darkest moments of those 2 months. After having dealt with essentially never having felt ANY soft baby skin on my infant, not being able to kiss him much for fear of irritating his skin, becoming paranoid about all fabrics, perfumes, never having a normal diaper change due to his extreme itching, having him be covered in Aquaphor from head to toe under his clothes, finding him in his crib with blood when mittens would fall off of him and he'd scratch himself. THIS, this scary swelling, was even worse than all of those moments. Imagine finding such swelling in the back of your child's head. As for me, I was terrified.

The very next day we saw the allergist again, who confirmed Echo has a severe banana allergy. I had been eating at least one banana daily since he had been born, essentially poisoning him through my breast milk. Within a day or two of eliminating this uncommon allergen from my diet, it has been like a miracle. His entire body is healed, we rarely have to use topical steroids anymore, I can kiss my baby, I can caress his face, we can leave him naked and mitten-less without fear of bloody scratches, we can have normal diaper changes and baths and our baby can show us his true rainbow loving colors. We do still have minor breakouts, but life is worlds better.

So in short, which this post is not, if you're child is struggling with eczema, I hope you can let our hard experience motivate you to look into specific allergies. As I am sure that with both my children that was the main cause. Doctors are used to offering quick bandaid solutions that work (like the steroid cream did for us), but none of the doctors we saw ever gave a clear definition or cause to eczema, when the reality is (Thank God) there WAS a very simple solution and cause. And speaking of God, I humbly thank him several times a day for this incredible healing and for my incredible baby. 

Photos of Echo while my diet contained his food allergens:

Photos a couple of days after having eliminated allergens from my diet :