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Posts tagged ‘eczema book’

10 Years of Eczema: What I’ve Learned (Guest Post)

Our guest today may only be 16, but he is wise beyond his years due to many years of suffering from severe eczema. He healed himself through dietary changes, something I’m a big proponent of, and is currently writing an e-book (which will be free) that will discuss how he did it. I think that’s pretty great. And a reminder again – he’s only 16! What were you doing at age 16? I certainly wasn’t trying to help others find inner peace and healing, like Harrison. I can only hope my son can take his experiences from growing up with allergies, asthma, and eczema, and turn them into something beneficial for others.
-Jennifer

10 Years of Eczema: What I’ve Learned (Guest Post)

By Harrison (Bio below)

I’m really happy to be featured on Jennifer’s blog today. I would like to share with you the lessons I learned about life when I had eczema. Let me introduce myself. I’m Harrison and I have had eczema since the age of 6. I developed this horrible skin disease and never grew out of it even when I got to high school. I prayed to God every night and hoped that he would help me grow out of it too. But I guess I wasn’t lucky enough. Until in the 10th grade of high school, the social consequences of having terribly scratchy, bleeding wounds had greatly reduced my self-esteem to the lowest point possible. I was very embarrassing when asked “jeez, what happened to your skin?” And, as you know, sweating can cause an itching frenzy, so having eczema also cut out any physical activities. It felt unfair when all I could do was sit back and watch my friends shoot hoops on the court. I hated my restricted life. I realized it was time, I had to get serious about getting rid of this skin problem.  It had to go. So I began hours of internet research on possible permanent treatments that were not steroid-related or overnight fixes.

I combined multiple resources together and developed my method. After a little over 6 months, I was free of eczema! After the past 10 years of struggling with this annoying, ugly, humiliating skin disease, I was finally free.

During those 10 years, I learned some lessons along the way. I’d like to share them with you.

Read more

Eczema Book Review & Giveaway- Malcolm Finney Medical Detective: The Case of the Itch and the Rash

“The Case of the Itch and the Rash” is a new eczema children’s book, part of the Malcolm Finney Medical Detective Series, for children ages 6-11. It was written by Registered Nurse, Erika Kimble and is available for sale at Amazon.com

…but, we’re giving away one copy of the book to one reader. To enter the contest, please simply add a comment to this post and tell us about your child’s eczema. Contest ends April 30, 2013.

malcolm finney medical detective the case of the itch and the rash

About the book

“The Case of the Itch and the Rash” takes some of the medical jargon typically used when discussing eczema and explains it in an easy to understand format along with illustrations. The story is about Malcolm Finney (a forth grade medical detective) and his mission to identify what caused his friend, Carlita, to develop a rash and itchy skin. In the end the two sleuths are able to determine that Carlita has eczema and with the help of Carlita’s doctor, they find the right moisturizer and skincare program to clear up Carlita’s skin before her ballet recital.

malcolm finney eczema book

reading eczema children's book

Although the book is targeted for slightly older children, my 4.5 year old was really interested in the book when it arrived. He “read” it cover to cover alone and then asked me to read it to him. He listened intently through all 50 pages. I thought the medical explanations would be too much for him, but he was interested and asked questions. I guess he’s heard the word eczema in our house for so long and had never really seen a medical diagram of the condition or heard the condition explained in terms he could understand, so he was enthralled.

Don’t forget to add a comment to enter the giveaway for a copy of this book! Contest ends April 30, 2013!

The Emotional Side of Eczema (Guest Post)

Below is the beginning of a guest post I wrote for Sweet Knee. This week I’ve launched their full line of skincare products at my store, The Eczema Company. The company is mom owned, family operated and their products are great for eczema because the ingredients are organic, gluten free, and very soothing for dry, irritated skin.

The Emotional Side of Eczema

Eczema is a chronic illness that affects 10-20% of children in North America. The severity ranges from mild dry skin to extreme head-to-toe, red, inflamed skin. My son had the more severe form of eczema, but now that we’ve identified his key triggers (food allergies, detergents, and heat), his skin is 95% better. We count our blessings everyday for his miraculous turn around. And, as one mother who has been through the worst eczema can offer, I understand how truly gut wrenching and emotional this skin condition can be on the child and the rest of the family.

Something I heard early on is “what works for one child’s eczema, may not work for another.” I repeat this phrase constantly to remind myself and to others as it really captures what a challenge eczema is how frustrating it can be. It is NEVER easy. It keeps our children (and us) awake for hours at night as we cover their hands and try to comfort them doing anything in our power to distract from the itchiness and the overwhelming desire to scratch. It has us researching for hours about treatment options and new moisturizers to try. It has us racking our brains for any possible indication as to what may have triggered the last flare-up. We wonder if our children will be bullied because their skin looks different. We wonder if all the painful creams, different treatments, and nights without sleep will cause lasting damage to our little ones. Will they grow up to be happy and healthy or will they suffer with this condition forever? If they don’t grow out of it, how will they cope without us there to prepare their food free from allergies and to carefully monitor their skin? This is the emotional side of eczema and it’s a beast.

Read the full post on Sweet Knee’s blog.

Mark gets better with The Combined Approach to Eczema Treatment

I started following Dr. Christopher Bridgett on Twitter by chance. When I took a closer look at his profile I couldn’t believe it – he is a psychiatrist specializing in eczema! What an interesting combination! I had been really interested in finding someone just like this as I have lots of questions: Are our kids really always itchy or do they just want to scratch sometimes? How does eczema and all the treatments affect them mentally now and when they are adults? In the future will they be scarred both physically and mentally by everything they endured as children? Do they hold us responsible for putting them through all the “torture” of wet wraps, constant moisturizing, medication, and different alternative treatments? What questions do you have about the psychological aspect of eczema?

I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post from DrB. I think you’ll find his theories and approach to habitual scratching quite intriguing. He has a new website about his approach for practitioners and patients. Some of the information on the site requires you to become a member HERE. Just enter the code “FirstFree.”

About Dr. Christopher Bridgett:

Dr Christopher Bridgett has a special interest in using behavioral interventions to help people with atopic eczema. DrB trained in medicine at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, then as a psychiatrist in Oxford. He now works in a private practice in London. He has co-authored several publications on The Combined Approach, that recommend using habit reversal to stop habitual scratching in atopic eczema. To find out more about behavioral dermatology, click here to read DrB’s interview with Peter Norén MD, the Swedish dermatologist who created The Combined Approach.

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Mark gets better with The Combined Approach to Eczema Treatment

Mark is 2½ and lives with his older sister Jennie who is 4, and his Mum and Dad in a flat near the centre of town. He has had eczema since he was born, coming and going, but never clearing up. It disturbs everyone’s sleep, and he spends a great deal of time rubbing and scratching, day and night. Mum has had eczema too, but Dad is OK and so is Jennie. Mum found a book called “The Eczema Solution” by Sue Armstrong-Brown and with the help of her doctor found using The Combined Approach described in the book really worked for her. So she has decided to use the same approach for Mark. The doctor explains it needs planning, but it would be worth doing. The Combined Approach is for atopic eczema that never seems to clear up properly with creams alone. It includes “habit reversal”, a treatment to help with the habitual scratching that causes damage to the skin that will not heal with creams on their own. (Click HERE to learn more about habit reversal.)

The doctor explains the programme for Mark will have to involve everyone! A plan is needed, and first over a few days it is important to make three lists. One is of all the things that seem to make Mark’s eczema worse: house dust, oranges, woollen clothes, and getting too hot all seem important, as does when he stays with his grandparents – perhaps the cat is the problem! The second list is things to do with Mark that he enjoys doing, and especially anything that keeps his hands busy! They list: playing with someone rather than being alone, sitting on a lap listening to stories being read aloud, drawing with crayons and doing his jigsaw puzzles, playing with play-dough and with his plastic building blocks. Finally, after watching Mark for a couple of days, Mum makes a list of all the times, situations, circumstances and activities that she can link with Mark’s scratching – getting dressed and undressed, before he goes to sleep, while he is asleep, waiting in his chair before meals, sitting on his potty, watching TV, and being on his own playing with his toys – all these seem important.

The doctor gives them a booklet called “Living Without Eczema” The Handbook for Younger Children and their Parents, which explains what needs to be done. It explains how the programme works – especially by replacing scratching with healing, but also how the moisturizers and steroid creams work, and how to use them correctly. Scratching for Mark is now as much a habit as caused by itch. Habits needed to be understood before they can be changed. The booklet explains how to do it all. The list of things that Mark likes doing is for everyone involved to refer to. It gives some ideas how to help Mark get his eczema healing, by leaving his skin alone for long enough. The doctor also makes sure Mum has the moisturizers they like best, and a good supply of correct steroid creams. He reviews with them how to use the creams, and especially says it is important to use the topical steroid for long enough: not to stop too soon.

As well as using the creams correctly, for the first few days everyone possible has to be available to help with the programme, taking it in turns. They decide to start on a Friday, so on Saturday and Sunday Dad will be there to help. Dad also arranges to be there on Monday too. Mark’s Grandad and Granny will help, as will Mum’s friend Sue, and their neighbour Carol. The idea is that for four days and nights Mark is to have someone with him all the time. Mum draws up a rota, and gives everyone a copy of the list of things to think about that will help keep Mark’s hands off his healing skin. They all have to understand how important it is when changing behaviour to keep all interventions positive.  When any attention is given directly to undesirable or negative behaviour, the effect can be the opposite of what is wanted: the undesirable can become re-inforced and then more likely to happen, as it is attracting attention. So it is very important never to say “Stop” or “Don’t”, but to focus always on encouraging Mark, diverting and distracting him with talk, & play. For three nights they take it in turns to stay awake through the night next to Mark as he sleeps, gently lifting him up and cuddling him every time he starts to scratch or rub his skin. (Click HERE to learn more about why it’s important to avoid saying “stop scratching.”)

By the end of Monday Mark’s skin is looking really great. He is definitely scratching so much less that everyone agrees he will now sleep OK again on his own, and from then onwards the “sentry duty” of the first four days is no longer necessary. The correct use of creams is the important thing now, and even though after another few days the skin looks as if it is healing really fast, or in some places has healed altogether, it is important to continue both moisturizers and topical steroids for a few weeks in total, to make sure the healing is through and through.  How long this takes is worked out by seeing when it all looks healed: “the look good point”, and then continuing for the same length of time, to do what is called “hidden healing”. Otherwise, all the other things that have helped during the first four days are important still, especially watching out for rubbing and scratching, and diverting and distracting again when necessary. Also now Mark gets lots of praise and attention for playing without rubbing and scratching. He is much happier now he was sleeping better, as is everyone of course!

When they go to see the doctor after four weeks all his eczema has been healed for a week. It is decided to reduce the frequency of the topical steroid to once a day for two more weeks, but continue with the moisturizer as needed: three times a day at present. The importance from now on of catching any eczema flare-up quickly is agreed. This treatment  is called “Zapping The Relapse”. Any redness, dryness, roughness or itch will now be given prompt extra steroid and moisturizer for a few days, exactly as it says in the booklet “Live Without Eczema”. By referring back to the list of factors that seemed important in making Mark’s eczema worse, it is possible to see how flare-ups can sometimes be predicted, and the quick “zap” treatment is easier to give. It is especially important to always have available the creams needed for zapping, even when the skin seems perfect, so that they are always ready for when a new flare-up happens. The doctor helps with this. With this follow up plan the skin settles further, with flare-ups getting less and less troublesome, bit by bit, as the next three months go by.

Everyone agrees following the programme has been well worth the effort. Now little Mark and his family enjoy living without eczema. They no longer have to live with it!

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© 2011 Dr Christopher Bridgett    London, UK

References:

Live Without Eczema – The Handbook for Younger Children and their Parents by Christopher Bridgett and Peter Norén 1996,    www.atopicskindisease.com

The Eczema Solution by Sue Armstrong-Brown  2002     Vermilion,  London

Itchy Irritated Skin, Scratching Little Fingers – Part Two: Distraction Techniques

In Part One I discussed scratch protective eczema clothing, which is a lifesaver at night, when scratching can disrupt sleep, and for “emergency” itch attacks during the day. Though it’s not ideal to keep children’s hands covered for too long during waking hours as it could cause development delays. Children learn with their hands and it’s critical we don’t restrict this educational growth. When their hands are not covered, distraction techniques can be a great way to keep your children from scratching.

 

Part Two:  Distraction Techniques

Tristan’s skin didn’t really start itching until a few months before he turned three. Although his skin had gotten progressively more red and inflamed, we were lucky he wasn’t itchy as well. Then one day the itchiness hit and was the worst at night. We kept his hands covered with ScratchMeNots and Kumfy Cotton while he slept and many times we’d be up half the night trying to soothe him enough for sleep to reach his tired little body. Things were better during the day, but some days were better than others.

The distraction techniques we tried were:

  • TV – This was like magic. I’m not a big fan of TV for children, but it was the only thing that would work when we were using wet wrap therapy. He’d watch it as we dressed him up in the wet and dry layers and finish up the one show he was allowed during the beginning of his two-hour wrapping therapy.
  • Physical activity & games– We’d literally have to pick him up, carry him out the front door and make him walk to the park. After a few minutes of walking he’d be looking forward to the park and no longer thinking about the itchiness. Hide and Seek is one of Tristan’s favorite games. If he was scratching, usually offering to play this game would snap him out of his trance. Blowing and catching bubbles is great too. If your child has a favorite really active game, maybe it could help as a distraction as well. Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and Tag are great for older kids.
  • Cooking – My little guy loves to cook. I sure hope he keeps his fascination with the kitchen as it will sure win him points with the ladies when he’s older :) Measuring out ingredients, stirring, and taste testing are loads of fun for toddlers and great methods for distraction.
  • Tickling – Gently caressing his skin really helped him. Although, we started doing this at night to help stop the thrashing about and screaming (the itching was pretty severe at times) and quickly Tristan started to expect (demand is probably the more accurate word) the tickling. He started throwing fits when we tried to ease back on the tickling. We tried to teach him to tickle himself and that helped him probably because it gave him some control, but of course it was better when mama or papa tickled. Obviously :)
  • Phone apps & kids computer games – Children of all ages love phones (home phones, cell phones, any and all phones). All they seem to want to do is get their little hands on a phone. Add to that the fact that there are some amazing games and apps available, many of which are quite educational, for children of all ages to play and now you have the most easily accessible distraction tool possible.

Mei from Eczema Blues has some great distraction tips as well on her blog. By the way, if you haven’t checked out her blog before, you really should. She has a lot of great information about eczema. It is the most thorough eczema mom’s blog I’ve come across. Really great stuff over there!

Here are some great techniques I found and commented on from Mei’s blog. Read her full post here.

  • Sign Language – Mei has a full post about the benefits of signing in general and how it specifically helped her daughter Marcie. Read the full post here. This is not something we ever tried with either of our children, but I’ve heard rave reviews from parents that have tried it. My Smart Hands is a mom-owned company that has some really great teaching tools – local classes, downloadable videos, flashcards, books, phone apps, etc.

 

  • Cold Teether – For 5-7 month olds, let them play with a cold teething ring. Babies and most toddlers are fascinated with cold items. With a teether, they may gum on it a bit (also helping with teething) and for older children cold beverage bottles could be a good distraction as well. I’ll add ice to this as well. Both my kids love to play with and eat ice.
  • Paper – Why do children, particularly babies, love to tear paper? Have you seen the Youtube video of the baby that goes into a hysterical laughing fit when her dad tears up paper? Hand your baby a magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, tissue paper and let them go to town. Warning – make sure the paper is suitable for immediate recycling after your baby is done with it because you sure won’t be able to read it once your baby has had his way with it!
  • Food – This one is debatable, like TV. I don’t really believe that food should be used as a reward or a distraction, but occasionally it’s probably fine and if you’re desperate and out of options, I say go for it. It’s better than the alternative, shredded skin. The best foods will be those that will occupy the child for a long time like teething biscuits for babies. Popsicles are also great choices and go along with the cold/ice idea above.

 

  • Books – The best are those that will involve your child’s hands like flip-up books or touch-n-feel books. Kids love to turn the pages, so that’s an added hand distraction bonus. Children’s books about eczema are great too. Check out this ebook, A to Z Animals are not Scratching!
  • Toys – For babies, hammering or pound-a-ball toys are great because they develop great hand and eye coordination and for eczema babies they require constant use of the hands. For older kids, maybe it would help to keep a special toy hidden away and on reserve for use only when a distraction is greatly needed. Legos, train sets, Lincoln logs, and similar toys would all be good choices.

What distraction techniques have you used for your eczema baby? What helped? What didn’t?

Eczema Blues, a Light-Hearted, but Info Packed Blog for Stressed Parents

It’s my first guest blogger! Welcome to Marcie’s Mom! Hers was one of the very first eczema blogs, Eczema Blues, I came across that was targeted to parents. I particularly like her cartoons about how our life, dealing with eczema, is quite different from other parents. And she has a really cute e-book for kids, “A to Z Animals Are Not Scratching!“, which teaches them not to scratch. The illustrations are great and were all designed by this talented mom. Oh, and she has just started a support group for parents in Singapore. I’ve asked her to share her story and the inspiration behind her blog.

Marice with her Mom

Hi! I’m the mom of baby girl Marcie, who has eczema from two weeks old. Her eczema was pretty serious, all over her body and she had to take a one-time oral steroid course before it became manageable. It was very stressful taking care of her as a stay-at-home mom – apart from the usual stress faced by first-time mom, there’s additional stress with stopping Marcie from scratching and figuring out how to manage her eczema. When Marcie’s eczema got better, I decided to start a blog to share tips on managing eczema and offer a light-hearted approach to it, keeping to my blog’s motto “Turning Blues to Bliss”. Much of the motivation came from remembering my own experience of researching on the web late into the night, and often ended up even more tired, confused and worried.

From Information Posts to Cartoons
Sometime in August, I decided to offer my readers who are mostly stressed out parents with a weekly cartoon series “101 things that Moms with Eczema Child do Differently“. I always loved cartooning, dreaming of one day being a cartoonist, and this offers an excellent avenue for me to draw, and for a purpose – to give parents a good laugh to lighten their day. At the same time, it offers a friendly way to inform the public how much eczema affects the parents’ life and hopefully, they will be of better support to their friends or relatives who have to deal with their children’s eczema.

A Unique Book for Eczema Children
I also created a picture book “A to Z Animals Are Not Scratching!“, and all the animals in this book were drawn by me on Adobe Illustrator. I love graphic design as well, and almost set up my own stationery store, selling of course, all the stationery designed by me. I haven’t sold any stationery though, but I have designed and donated over 10,000 bookmarks featuring different Swahili bible verses for missionaries to bring to Africa. The inspiration for this children book really came from Marcie, because she loves reading, especially books on animals and alphabets. So once again, my creative self needed an outlet and I started creating the picture book.

Turning Blues to Bliss
Making life better for stressed out parents gives me the motivation for the blog – even if it’s just for the few seconds they laugh at a cartoon or the few minutes they save researching a topic. I’ve also started a support group in Singapore to offer parents a safe place to share with others who’d understand. I’m also passionate about lower income families with eczema children as I can’t imagine how to manage the eczema without money for treatment or moisturizers or having to work shifts to make ends meet. To help this group, I’m working with a non-profit to set up a fund to subsidize their medical costs. Hopefully, all eczema children will have a better quality of life, along with happier parents.
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Thanks Marcie! I’ll be sure to pass along the information on her new non-profit, once it’s established. What a motivated mom!

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