By Heather Hopson
Over your lifetime, you probably walked to raise money and raise awareness for cancer, lupus, MS or epilepsy. But have you tied up your sneakers for eczema? Although the ailment is far from deadly, and I wouldn’t dare compare it to a devastating disease, eczema doesn’t have a cure. And for the first time, a charity walk was held in North Carolina recently to find one.
Sometimes I have dry skin, but it’s nothing a little lotion can’t combat. Eczema on the other hand needs more attention. When I became a mother of an infant with the skin condition, I couldn’t leave finding a cure in her hands””as you see she made a mess! So I joined forces with fellow moms, African-American Skincare Expert Dr. Patricia Treadwell and The National Eczema Association.
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is a chronic itchy skin condition characterized by dry, red, slightly raised or scaly rashes.
“The incidents of eczema in African-American infants are no different from infants in other races. About 15-20% of babies get it,” said pediatric dermatologist Patricia Treadwell. “It’s a common occurrence, so parents should take their children to the pediatrician first. Two-thirds of my patients outgrow eczema after the first year.”
WHAT TRIGGERS A FLARE UP?
In babies, saliva from drooling may cause additional irritation. Other triggers include pets, dust mites, certain fabrics, cigarette smoke and scented products.
“Use unscented laundry detergent and add an extra rinse cycle when washing. Since extreme heat causes flare ups, dress your child appropriately and in cotton clothing whenever possible,” said Treadwell.
HOW DO I TREAT ECZEMA?
“I typically tell my patients’ parents to start with Vasoline,” said Treadwell. “It’s something their mothers and grandmothers turned to moisturize their skin. Baths should be short and warm.”
According to Dr. Treadwell, treatment is a trial-and-error process.
Whitney McIntosh, Altoona, Iowa, ”I gave my child an oatmeal bath and immediately rubbed on Eucerin.”
Dr. Carolyn Davis, Nashville, Tennessee, “My daughter had it terribly! I found relief by applying Hydrocortisone cream, as well as Bindi Baby Massage Oil. The oil softens her skin and smells wonderful! I mix in jojoba oil, almond oil or lavender.”
Jasmine Collins, Columbus, Ohio, ”My daughter is three, and she has had it since birth. I use Baby Aveeno Eczema Cream, and she hasn’t had a outbreak in two years.”
Michelle Spencer, Orlando, Florida, “My kids have it so bad they have a script for Protopic. I make sure their bedding stays cool, especially when there’s an outbreak because the skin sweats more at that time.”
WILL I NEED TO USE STEROID OINTMENTS ON MY CHILD?
Most children with moderate to severe eczema will need topical steroids.
“Only apply steroid ointments twice daily. Some parents think it bleaches the skin, when in fact it is typically the eczema itself that causes discoloration,” said Treadwell. “Over time, the normal skin tone should return.”
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
For a complimentary copy of the National Eczema Association newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
BMWK family, have you had to deal with Eczema? What treatments worked best for you and your children?
Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she’s writing a different kind of story as a new mom at www.diaryofafirsttimemom.com and http://www.facebook.com/diaryofafirsttimemo. The site includes fabulous features, such as Gaga Giveaways, The Mommy Experiment, Mom Minutes and a Video Diary.