The post about living with and managing atopic dermatitis, aka eczema

I have never neglected my weblog for this long. Ever. My only excuse — and family and friends know this — is that Eliza’s been struggling with eczema for a number of months, and her misery (therefore my lack of sleep) has contributed to my not posting a thing here. Although I’ve definitely missed it.

eczematous cheeks and chin
Those poor cheeks and chin were sore, weepy, itchy, and infected

In short: Eliza has inherited a tendency to flare up with eczematous skin from Neil, as well as a predisposition to lots of allergies from me, including Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), an offshoot of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever1. She’s certainly won the genetic lottery2. We saw our GP a number of times, who prescribed steroid creams, but told us we had to stop applying the cream after one week at the most. Every time we did what he said, the eczema would flare up again, get worse, and spread.

A paediatric dermatologist we ended up seeing in Singapore suggested she might have food allergies (cutting out soy while in Singapore made a big difference, which meant no yummy Chinese food for the poor girl, just plain rice), and now that it’s springtime, hay fever is kicking in.

Tangent: I never realised I suffered from hay fever until my mother said I did. Now I feel it so much more. Thanks, power of suggestion.

We tried loads of moisturisers and emollients. The things that didn’t work were Doublebase, Aveeno, Oilatum, Aloe Vera, Epaderm, and Weleda. The prducts currently helping to manage her skin include a daily oat and coconut oil bath, Fucidin H cream (or a combination of Desowen lotion and fusidic acid ointment), sunflower seed oil, and Atopiclair. A friend has loaned us some Scratchsleeves, and we have seen some effectiveness with her wearing DermaSilk garments — although she’s figured out how to pull off the face mask, the little shit.

One unintended consequence of such frequent moisturisation of Eliza’s face and body is my normally-dry-because-I-wash-them-so-much hands are soft and smooth. Er, yay?

1 The first time she ate raw tomato, her lips swelled up so much I worried about anaphylaxis, and subsequent research led me to learn about OAS. She also reacts strongly to raw nectars / syrups. She seems okay with some raw fruit, thank goodness.

2 We worried that Anne had also inherited eczema, but on reflection, she had some dry skin. And no allergies. Lucky, lucky bam.

Pulling it together

You know your love for your children is unconditional when you switch to drinking coconut milk (instead of cow’s) to take a possible trigger food out of your baby’s diet — and you despise coconut.

(Having looked into the other plant-based alternatives, the plan is to alternate between that and homemade almond milk.)

Edited to add: after an allergic reaction at a restaurant, I suspect Oral Allergy Syndrome. There go my usual lazy weaning options: fresh fruit and salads.

There’s no point arguing with a zealot

With increasing frequency, I wish for the days when my having a website was a quirky thing that would never last, and the Internet was a mere curiosity that only nerds were into. Back then, I could say exactly whatever the fuck I wanted and anyone likely to be offended wouldn’t have been likely to read it.

Not any longer. Now I am regularly assaulted with opinions that are not only self-righteous, but also completely hypocritical. But as I know these people in real life, I can’t respond the way I truly want to because they’d take it badly.

Aaaauuuggghhhh.