Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emmett's eczema - update

I thought I'd write a little update about Emmett's eczema, because I hadn't written about it lately (this is another one of those posts that is probably more for me to look back on later).  He's actually been doing really well over the summer, and I'm praying that things won't get worse again with the change of weather.  When I first wrote about his eczema, I outlined a "plan of attack", and I've been doing some of those things, and others I have changed.  Here's our current "routine", which seems to be working quite well.  I can't really say if it's one thing in particular, or a combination of all the things, but I barely ever have to use his prescription steroid cream anymore (only about once every 3-4 weeks, when it used to be at least once a week). 
  • Probiotics - I put BioGaia probiotic drops in his cereal every morning
  • Diet - I've found that he's now able to handle wheat, and he has at least one serving of it every day (he just started eating toast and he loves it!).  He also seems to be okay with dairy (eats yogurt and cheese, and he's still on the milk-based formula).  His diet is still pretty restricted, though, mostly due to his age.  He's had egg yolks, but not the whites yet.  He also hasn't had fish yet, or much sugar (other than when he gets to have a little ice cream treat!).  I add a spoonful of ground flaxseed to his cereal every morning, to give him a little extra Omega 3, which is good for the skin.
  • Environmental factors - I use natural products as much as possible (or as much as we can afford - some of them aren't cheap!), and try to put him in only 100% cotton clothes (although his sleep sack for winter is a polyester-blend, so we'll see how that goes).  I haven't been very good at keeping up with the cleaning (I was going to clean his room and bedding once a week), but that doesn't seem to be too much of an issue.  It would be a good habit to get into, though, so perhaps I'll try a bit harder now that summer's over.
  • Personal care - I haven't been putting lotion on him (all over) daily, just after baths.  It seems to be okay, though, because the eczema is really only on his face, and the rest of his skin is perfectly soft and smooth.  For baths, I add my homemade oatmeal bath mixture to the water.  On his face, I wash it twice a day with Rocky Mountain Soap Company pumpkin soap (recommended for dry skin and eczema), and then put on unscented body butter (also from Rocky Mountain).  I put on a thick layer in the morning and before bed, and do a thinner layer several times throughout the day (usually when after I change his diaper, since we're in his room already).  This stuff seems to work really well at keeping his skin soft and moisturized.  And I love Rocky Mountain Soap Company - the stuff is all natural, and it's made in Canmore, AB.  The body butter is made with beeswax, so although it's unscented, he still smells a little sweet, which I like. :)  The body butter is a little tricky to apply to the face, though (it comes in a solid stick, like deodorant), so I used a fine-tooth comb to scrap a little bit off the stick and warm it up in my fingers until it's soft enough to apply to his face (the comb is only used for the body butter, not hair, since it gets all greasy).  Sometimes I'll also warm up the stick on my arm, and then apply directly to his face (gently).  He's not too fond of it, but he'll thank me someday.  I also try to keep his fingernails quite short (another thing he's not fond of), so he doesn't break the skin if he does scratch.
  • Natural necklaces - he wears an amber necklace and a hazelwood necklace (that one I put on his ankle though) every day.  I'm not sure if they really make a difference, but it's worth a shot.

I didn't have a close-up picture from recently (and the June pic is a bit out of focus), but hopefully you can see how much better his skin is looking.  He still has the occasional flare-up, but more often than not it goes away without the prescription cream.

So that's what we've been doing, and it seems to be working.  Hopefully it keeps working for the winter, with the dry indoor air, and cold outdoor temperatures!

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