I am not sure if anyone is actually aware but the word Eczema

is actually taken from the Greeks ἔκζεμα ēkzema

, and translated means – ‘to boil over’!

This is particulary relavant as for anyone that directly suffers from eczema or anyone around or who cares for someone with eczema will tell you that their skin temperature (certainly on the part that is affected) if only in small area’s will often be much hotter than the rest of their skin. So why is this soooo relevant Anna……..? Now then, Issi-May is forever taking her clothes off and wandering around our home in her swimming costume, yes even now and in the midst of November will argue every morning until she is blue in the face that she still wants to wear her summer school dress to school without a cardigan! Clearly this is not allowed and against school policy, so we hide the summer uniform and she begrudgingly wears her winter uniform, and still refuses to wear her cardigan. I have to force her cardi on her knowing that she will not wear her coat so it’s the cardi or nothing. Like many eczema sufferer’s she also has asthma (quite severly) so it’s very important that she does not get a chest infection, but getting a coat on her is impossible. When you touch her skin however you can see why, her skin is always HOT, not warm, HOT. Her lips are always bone dry and often cracked even when your slap on ointment and at the moment she is doing really well. Her fingers are not cracked or split at all but they are very swollen and look like sausages. The heat that eminates from them is scary. She will ask you to wrap ice in t-towels then just sit with her fingers in the towels to cool them down.

On one of our many famous trips to the supermarket last weekend she was wearing a white double layer broaderie anglaise dress (beautiful in the middle of summer for most of us) with wellie boots), a lady looked at me and as she passed by muttered some unpleasant rambling about how irresponsible I was for not dressing my daughter appropriately for the time of year, I bit my tongue and carried on doing my shopping. A couple of aisle’s on there she was by the support tights with what I presumed was her husband, as I walked past with Issi-May she nudged her husband and pointed me out, only speaking a bit louder this time so other people in the aisle could also hear. For a split second I thought I was going to burst into tears infront of the whole store and I momentarilly questioned myself as a mum (crazy I know but I felt exposed), then thankfully my Mummy instinct kicked in as I saw that Issi-May had also heard what she had said and primarily (everything else aside) Issi-May had dressed herself, she was not only very proud of this achievement but also comfortable (she was not itching or scratching, there was no blood), she was not HOT! Her skin was good! She was having a good skin day! I walked over to the lady and her husband, I introduced myself as Issi-May’s mum and I simply explained that children with severe eczema needed to follow a regimen of emollients and steroids and that unlike her skin the temperature was considerably higher and needed to be kept cool at all times to avoid the ‘itch scratch cycle’ and prevent unnecessary inflamation and pain. As I walked away I turned around and thanked her for her comments but added that I did find them a little hurtful but perhaps that was just ‘her way’ and hopefully the ‘support tights’ will make her more comfortable. She wasn’t big enough to appologise, instead she kept her fuscia pink lips pursed and that’s fine, I have no doubt from the quickness in her steps that her need to remove herself from the store was enough of a lesson learnt for one weekend and I doubt if the story of “the dreadful mum and the little girl in the summer dress” will be told over the, ‘Trout & pears with ice-cream’ when Jilly comes round…..

Soooo, the tips for keeping the ‘Itch Scratch Cycle’ low are:

1. Keep the room cool at night time
2. Use cotton or silk bedding and night-time clothing (try to avoid all forms of synthetics and man made fibres), this really does make a huge difference so it is worth investing in good bedding and jim jams/nightware they are in it for a long-time so either get online and buy well or see you GP some you can get on prescription, some even advertise on TalkHealth I think or are on the directory and they are v good.
3. Use non-bio washing products – this is very important!!!!
4. Wash all bedding on a hot wash – my tip not proven any where but it makes a big difference to Issi-May
5. Hoover the mattress and steam clean it every now and then (when you can amongst all the other things we have to do)
6. Always and religously use a bath emollient, cream and or ointment (I know its a lot of hassle for the kids and or you but it works and do not use one with SLS)
7. Treat yourself and if it’s your child that suffers do something great together – it doesn’t have to be expensive, better if it isn’t
8. Avoid all woolly things
9. Find something that you can put in the freezer – be it a soft toy (that is washable) or a flannel, wrap in a sealable poly bag first then you can apply to the skin when it does get Hot to soothe.

Hope these tips help – will be talking about ACNE next time and updating on my oldest girl and seeing where we are with the guidleines, …..

Take care, Anna


Anna B

I am a mother of three fantastic children aged 14, 5 and 4 (my youngest child is a severe sufferer of eczema and has been since her toddler moments), and I have enjoyed a career in sales and marketing for twenty years. My career has spanned both the not-for-profit and in more recent years in the pharmaceutical industry, heading up the sales and marketing functions, where I have gained experience in rheumatology and extensive experience in dermatology, with a particular focus on acne, clinically dry skin, and eczema with an in-depth knowledge of emollients and topical preparations. I am not a medic; I am a mum with many years’ experience of both industry and child, pushing for the best treatment and probably like you not giving up! I have also learned a few tricks along the way which may or may not work for you, but I am happy to share.

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