Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 End of the Year Tips: Part 1 - Eczema

This is the first annual End of the Year Tips. The 2012 End of the Year Tips is a three part series, so please stay tune :)

Lina <3 had symptoms of eczema since two to three months of age. It was bad in the beginning with a lot of redness; cracked and moist skin between the folds; a lot of scratching and itchiness; heat rashes; dry, scaly and patchy skin; and skin discoloration. It drove Lina's<3 Daddy and I crazy and we felt so helpless. However, Lina<3 eczema symptoms have decreased over the past few months and thus less severe.

These tips listed below might have some repetitions (to create more emphasis) and it may not be news to parents with a child(ren) with eczema:

The number one thing is: MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE and MOISTURIZE! Oh did I mention to moisturize. It is extremely important to keep the skin as moist as possible. If it means moisturizing every hour then do so, and trust me, every hour will become every two hours and then every three hours (I am currently moisturizing every 3-4 hours, which makes it about 4-5 times a day from the moment Lina<3 wakes up to bedtime. I always moisturize the skin with a warm damp cloth, and spritz of water from the spray bottle that I always keep next to the body lotions. After using a damp cloth, the lotions/creams/ointments/moisturizer comes next.

Must test different brands of lotions/creams/ointments/moisturizers to see which one works well. Keep in mind that each new brand of lotion must be tested on the arm for 30minutes for allergy reactions (the time limit is not limited to 30mintues and can wait longer if need to or want to and even overnight is fine as well because some allergy reactions take longer to break out).

Alba Un-petroleum Jelly--- a natural alternative to petroleum jelly. It is a great product. Great for Lina's <3 skin. Use it with the Cetaphil Restoraderm which is also works well with Lina<3. So it is wipe down with a damp cloth, Alba un-petroleum jelly then Cetaphil Restoraderm and another layer of Alba un-petroleum jelly (I find that the third layer traps more moisture in). Should put on moisturizers as soon as the skin is wet, which is the best way to trap the moisture.

For the scratching, when socks/mittens no longer works or when the baby is able to pull them off by self, then it is time to switch to the ScratchMeNot flip mittens.  The ScrathMeNot mittens are absolutely a must have. It works very well when the baby absolutely refuse to stop scratching, and when distractions does not work to stop the scratching. The ScratchMeNot mittens prevents little fingers from breaking the skin and causing the skin to bleed. The mittens are used mostly for bedtime, and as needed when scratching during the day becomes too much. I was worry that the ScratchMeNot mittens would limit Lina's<3 ability to use her hands, and set her back from reaching her milestones at an appropriate stage but it did not. Once Lina<3 got use to it, it was fine, she learned to pick up her toys with the mittens on.

Using a lot of moisturizers/creams/ointments/lotions, here's a trick: cut open the bottles when shaking does not bring out the last bit of moisturizers left in the of bottles. There's always an ounce or two left in the bottles. There are so much money spent on these products, might as well use it all, every last drop.

Should not bathe too often, especially in the winter time, it will only dry up the skin. Babies do not get dirty, a good wipe down will do (then moisturized). When bathing, use a bath thermometer to test the water and make sure it is not too hot or too cold. If baby scratches a lot while bathing, put the ScratchMeNot mittens on to prevent the scratching, do not worry, baby will get use to it and get back to playing with the bath toys.

Dress in natural fiber clothing, cotton is the best, I find. I like organic cotton. Babies should not wear unnatural fibers that does not allow the skin to breathe and can make the skin itchy. So be aware of the baby's clothing as it can affect the skin. Make sure clothing are not too tight on the skin and should be loose as it allows the skin to breathe properly.

Keep drooling babies dry. It may be hard but once drool lands on the skin and stays there, it may irritate the skin, and make symptoms of eczema worse.

At nighttime , use a humidifier in the winter as it will keep the air moist therefore keep baby skin moist and not get too dry. Lina<3 uses a cool mist humidifier.

Document all triggers and flares up to keep track of symptoms of eczema, know the best days and worse days for the scratching.

Also, parents breathe, breathe, and take a deep breath, when things does not seem to look up, or when the scratching or itchiness gets worst. There are brighter days to come.

Please be advised that these tips are from my own experiences and if there should be any concerns or questions regarding these tips, please speak to a professional. 

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