by Malvina Beker (see bio below)
“Wow, that looks terrible!” The doctor started to say, looking at my brother’s exposed stomach that was covered in red patches, scabs, and puss. My older brother Eugene and I had decide to take matters into our own hands and take our younger eight-year-old brother, Milan, to the doctor our selves. His rashes were just completely out of control and nothing that my parents were doing was helping him.
His rashes began very early on, when he was about six months old. My parents had no idea what the patchy rashes were or where they had come from. He had struggled with them ever since.
What started off as little patches began to formulate to bigger patches. It would appear seasonally around the folds of his skin and had gotten my parents attention from the beginning. They went to the doctors who had confirmed that indeed these patches looked like eczema and prescribed cortisone cream. Since they had never seen or heard of eczema before, my parents didn’t know how big of an ordeal it would be. My parents started using the prescribed cream with much caution, being very uncomfortable with it because it had steroids in it. More so than treating the rashes, they wanted to prevent them from resurfacing. My poor brother went through all sorts of preventative methods that my parents had tried, including homeopathic medicine, diets, hypnosis, even a trip to the dead-sea, but the patchy rashes continued to come back, and what was worse, the older he got, the less control they had over them, since my brother would scratch at them whenever they would appear. By the time he was eight-years-old my brother was being wrapped like a mummy for bed to prevent him from scratching. His stomach especially was a problem. My parents had no real direction or answers on how to battle eczema and had given up going to the doctors.
And so, my older brother and I had snuck him off to see a doctor hoping that we could find something to help control the eczema. The doctor prescribed cortisone yet again. “Unfortunately there is not much else that will help, especially because he has an infection in the area from all the scratching.” The doctor then had a chat with him and told him to be a bit more responsible about his eczema and encouraged him to try to control his scratching urges. We were once again back to square one. To treat the really bad outbreaks we resorted to using the cortisone cream, but in the meanwhile I started to help my brother with some easy solutions to prevent the outbreaks in the first place. These easy solutions included restricting any perfume based soaps from ever touching his skin and during a scratching urge, I insisted he bathe or shower or put ice around the itchy area.
My brother’s eczema was something that everyone in my family had suffered from and lived with right along with him. It was a real ordeal for him in his daily life. He had to be wrapped to go to bed, he even wore wraps around his body during the day sometimes. He didn’t feel comfortable going swimming and exposing his stomach to anyone, and did not like discussing his eczema either.
With time however, eventually, the eczema sort of stopped coming on as strongly. He was lucky that there were no scars left behind from all the scratching that he had done, and with age, had gained control over his rashes whenever they would come back.
As my brother grew into his teenage years, his eczema was like a forgotten dream for me.
And then I gave birth to my child, Alyssa. A few months later, I almost had a melt down when I noticed the very same patches of red rashes forming on her skin. I made an appointment to see the doctor right away, there was no way I wanted to go through this again. The doctor didn’t seem concerned at all. She prescribed yet again, more cortisone cream. Was there no other solution?
My husband found a more natural cream, that had no steroids in it, which I started to apply at once. I didn’t bother with the cortisone and stuck with applying the cream every time I felt the eczema patches forming on her skin. Our battle to control eczema continued as I noticed my one-year-old daughter, Emma’s, skin began to break out too, but by then I knew what I was in for. I have now incorporated a daily routine with my kids to always check their skin after they’ve had their baths, to look for any potential patches forming, and to put cream around those patches so that they don’t spread or continue to form. Neither one of my girls have ever experienced anything remotely close to what my brother had, and I hope that we can keep their eczema as much under control as possible so that they never do.
Dealing with severe eczema outbreaks is a very tough battle that sometimes can affect the whole entire family, as was in our case. In some cases, it can be a difficult fight, as it was for my brother, but for the most part it can be kept under control. For our family, monitoring our children’s skin daily and using natural based creams has been very helpful in preventing major outbreaks and keeping the eczema under control. Good luck to everyone else battling!
Bio: Malvina Beker is a teacher, an author, a sociologist and a mom. She has a Masters degree in Sociology, a Bachelor of Education, and a background in child psychology and development. She has taught high school Family Studies, Parenting and Music courses, and has research experience through interviewing as well as surveys. She is a mother of two little girls that inspire her the most, and is always excited to share and exchange opinions and experiences with others. She is also the founder of Start With Mom www.startwithmom.com, an online resource/directory for moms seeking solutions to healthy living. You can follow Start With Mom on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest.