7. Check in with your child's doctor at the onset of a flare-up or every six months.
- Tell your doctor if you suspect a skin infection. There is a heightened risk to eczema sufferers of contracting a bacterial or viral infection such as fever blisters/cold sores from other kids, as well as warts and a condition my older daughter got called molluscum, which is like patches of tiny blisters. The doctor might prescribe antibacterial or antiviral drugs at this time.
- Discuss whether you've noticed any other sensitivities or allergic-type symptoms in your child. Two of my four also had terrible hay fever and one had asthma.
- Tell your doctor if your child's sleep is seriously disrupted by the itching of a flare-up. They may recommend an antihistamine that has a drowsy effect. (See if they suggest you take one, too! After all, you're more sleep deprived than anyone else in the family.)
8. Remind your precious one that you are on his superhero team 24-7.
- Avoid the temptation to get lax about the game plan or to rely too much on your child's own initiative. I still have to remind my 14-year-old son to trim his nails and use a moisturizer.
- Don't think that just because they aren't talking about their eczema, they aren't thinking about it. Without sounding like a broken record, remember to check in with your child every few weeks, especially during a flare-up, to see how they're feeling. If necessary, bring out the crayons and paper again.
- Believe in the magic power of ritual. Once you've got the bathtime routine down pat, it will have a hypnotic effect on your child, cross my heart. Don't break the magic spell by being inconsistent.
9. Remember, there have been great advances in the treatment of this disease to help you win the battle against eczema!
- I have had a dermatologist of my own since my first case of acne and now that botox is all the rage, I continue to keep up our close relationship. Somehow, however, I was very slow to grasp the value of a professional's help in dealing with my kids' skin problems. (Of course, that breast milk expression suggestion did set me back at least a decade.) Now, if I leave you with only one message, it's to see your pediatrician, a dermatologist or an allergist as soon as you suspect eczema. It could change your life, and your child's.
Vicki Iovine began her writing career after the birth of her fourth child in six years with the publication of The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy. This book struck a chord among women who found maternity an altered state, and Vicki soon became a regular contributor on such shows as "The Today Show," "Oprah," and "The View." She has since published The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy Daily Diary; The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood; The Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers; and The Girlfriends' Guide to Getting Your Groove Back. Vicki has also been an advice columnist for Child magazine for five years. And with nearly 20 years of marriage under her belt, she regularly contributes articles to Redbook as the "Marriage Advisor" on the mysteries of the man/woman thing. Most recently, Vicki has sold a feature film screenplay to Twentieth Century Fox.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It's not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.