Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One More Thing About Beaches...

This is my kid taking a bath.

This is, like, the most joyous photo I've ever taken. It's Edie having a great time in the water, pouring buckets of water into other buckets of water, splashing her sister, lathering up with foamy soap.

Edie has very bad eczema. Her skin is often broken out into red, painful, scaley blotches that sometimes become sores. We are forever slathering her with ointments and preparations. Water stings her. She itches even in her sleep. She won't get within two feet of a tub when bathing is happening.

She hasn't actually been in a bath, a real bath, like splashing around, playing, enjoying herself in about six months. We do our best with sponge baths, even that is hard for her to endure.

But the weather in Puerto Rico is hot and dry and her eczema cleared up completely within days of being there. Not only did she play like crazy in the ocean, but she has been taking regular baths since she got home. Her body is clear of blotches. It is heaven, just heaven, to see her having fun in the water.

And you know, being clean.

This has prompted me to tell David that we must move to a Caribbean island. Immediately. For the health of our child. It is a sacrifice, of course. All that surf and sand and sublime temperatures, it would be hard to take. But I tell him, "If we love our child, we must endure. For her sake."

So far, he's not buying it. I'll settle for four times a year, just for medicinal purposes.

xxoo YM



vegetablej said...

When i was a child I used to ask my mom if I could wash my hands with cold water and "tickle the germs off" because warm water was too painful.

I feel so much empathy for your daughter having had severe eczema for most of my life. I want to suggest that it may not be only the weather, but a change in her diet. Have you reduced milk, wheat, or other common triggers?

In my case it was milk and then wheat. When I gave them up, the eczema cleared along with the constant itching and pain. After about 45 years.

I urge you to try systematically eliminating suspected foods from her diet and see if it helps.

But I'm not suggesting you give up the vacations.

The Yummy Mummy said...

Wow! This is great information to know. Thanks so much for writing.

I just assumed it was the climate. I probably should have kept a food diary while I was there, but I didn't actually think her eczema would disappear. It was a total surprise.

I am going to explore the milk/wheat connection immediately. Thank you for this great advice. You mentioned, "common triggers" - Are there other common food triggers I should keep in mind?

Also, I'm a little in love with your blog, which is going on my blogroll. No doubt, I'll be coming to you for wheat-free recipe ideas and to see what's up in Nova Scotia.

Thanks again for sharing your story with me. It helps.


Izzy's Mama said...

Kim: I was just about to say just what vegetablej said. It was probably the change in diet. Dairy and wheat sensitivities are common eczema triggers. I have many friends whose children have suffered and are now on a dairy-free diet and have been cured.

Good luck!

The Yummy Mummy said...

IM - Alright, I'm convinced. I'll go dairy-free first, since that is a whole heap easier than going wheat-free.

You guys have been an enormous help. That said, I am a little bummed it isn't the Caribbean weather. I could use a few more excuses to get back there.

The Yummy Mummy said...

Oh one question, Lynn...this means I have to go completely dairy free too because of the breast milk, right?

That's right. I thought so...

snowpants7 said...

as the wife of a man who can't have dairy from cows, i'll tell you that:

a) milk sometimes hangs out in odd places. like...salami. many salamis have milk (or "nonfat milk powder," or the like) pretty high up in the ingredients.

b) i'm sure anybody on any sort of restricted diet can relate: there will be times when you'll ask in a restaurant if a dish has any milk or dairy in it, and be assured that it does not...only to be presented with a bowl of ice cream, covered in whipped cream, with curls of butter, floating in a pool of heavy cream. "oh, you asked if it had MILK..." some days these things are easier to deal with with grace than others.

c) depending on how non-dairy works for you, or for wee girls...there is a whole world of goat milk out there that often works just fine for people who can't deal with cow dairy. i always have goat cheeses, goat milk, goat yogurt, goat butter on hand. (i nearabout cried, after years of making do with olive oil and smart balance (some kinds of which have milk, so read labels), the first time i sauteed some veg in goat butter! the gorgeous buttery smell! i'd missed it so!) laloo's is deeelicious goat milk ice cream (and frozen yogurt)...it's expensive, sure, but for my birthday, only REAL ice cream with cake will do. (we can also do sheep's milk cheeses and yogurt, and buffalo mozzarella...)

good luck finding deliciousness that's good (tasty AND kind) to you and your wee girls! :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter now 9 has eczema, we moved from PA to AZ and it has become a lot better due to it being so dry here. But I will also say that severe eczema is also a sign of Celiac disease (wheat). Some people with Celiac disease also can't handle milk. A lot of Dr.s still don't know enough about Celiac disease. You can do a search on Celiac disease for more info. and maybe mention to your Dr. to have her tested. BUT she has to still be eating wheat to have a positive test if she does have it. If you take her off all wheat and have her tested she will test neg. even if she does have Celiac disease.


Izzy's Mama said...

Kim: Yeah, if you are breastfeeding you would probably have to cut out dairy. I don't recommend cutting out dairy and wheat simultaneously. Try one at a time and note results. With dairy I believe it may take a few weeks for results. Also,snowpants has some good tips for you. Sometime's goat's milk will work, or raw cow's milk.

min said...

My daughter (now 4 and 1/2) had terrible eczema that always cleared up in the summer so I think, even if diet related, the warm weather definitely helps. We did test for celiac but she thankfully did not have it. Getting the test does require a blood draw but it is probably easier than giving up wheat to see if that is the issue (although blood draws are pretty traumatic) My pediatrician also siad that celiac usually presents with additional symptoms as well. Thankfully my daughter seemed to outgrow the worst of the eczema problem around the age of three. I hope Edie does as well. One trick we used for the bath was to smear aquaphor (I am sure you have used that ointment) on the bad spots. Since it is so think it didn't really come off in the water and protected those areas from stinging. I also thought that the steam bath help the aquarphor really penetrate those bad spots.
ANyway, I am the Lisa who went to see the Slava show on Christmas Eve day. We all loved loved loved it. My daughter still sings the tune from the show and wants to see it again. It was a perfect way to kick off our holiday. Cheers to your husband for putting on such a great show!

The Yummy Mummy said...

Lisa -

I appreciate you writing because I thought I was going bananas - I thought sure the climate change had something to do with it. Edie's eczema was also not nearly as severe in the summer, so I think the heat must have some influence, even if it doesn't actually cure or cause it.

I will get her tested for Celiac. Also, our pediatrician mentioned that - after a huge outbreak Halloween night after a candy eating binge - that some kids are very sensitive to dyes and preservatives and food colorings. Obviously, we cook a lot so these things are at a minimum around here.

But this may be a factor as well. Although I can say that we eat better and more wholesomely at home than we do when we travel. But anyway, you guys have given some great things to thing about and check out and I'm grateful.

And Lisa - about Snowshow - I am thrilled that you guys enjoyed it. You know, I was thinking about you that day and wondering how it went. You know, our kids should get together because EVERY DAY Lucy is watching the show on YouTube and acting out the ball drop and the cobweb and the snow storm. She adores the show. It means so much to her. I am hoping to get her on stage in the show when we do it in Australia at the end of the summer. Slava's grandaughter, Mia, is Lucy's age and the two are good friends. When she is traveling with the show, Mia makes a cameo at the end of the show dressed as the yellow clown. I think watching her do it, will inspire Lucy to give it a go.

Anyway, I am thrilled that you loved it. Thanks so much for taking a chance on it. You are an adventure girl, for sure!


a.koubek said...

My 2yo son has minor eczema flair ups-only on the sides of his legs-I have found that applying Neem ointment 2-3 times a day really helps. It has been used for centuries in India, where the tree is native. It can usually be found at an organic market or health food store. It is anti-inflamatory, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and anti-viral. I also have been using it on my face as I have quite to breakout of pregnacy acne.

I love reading your blog.

melissa said...

I love all the helpful comments here. I was going to offer suggestions directly from family experience with a host of skin issues, eczema included, but I don't have more to add than everything said above.

Except that I am thrilled to see Edie happy in the water. That must have made your heart very, very happy.

cooknkate said...

All good advice. The only thing I can offer is my friends gluten and dairy free website:


She's been GF/CF for ages and teaches classes. Her stuff is amazing.

I'm dairy free too due to intolerance. I've noticed some pretty amazing differences in my body since giving up cows milk. Good luck with it and I sure hope it works for Edie.

Anna said...

I had terrible eczema as a child and now, at 23, am having a (thankfully pretty rare) flare-up. I've tried everything: elimination diets, homeopathy, corticosteroids - they work but they make my skin feel like paper. I just sort of grew out of having it constantly and it only flares up on my joints and across my shoulders when I've been down, stressed, or eating loads of crap.

So saying, my sister has prevented her flare-ups by cutting out wheat and orange juice. Both of us are addicted to the stuff and I won't be able to give it up, but it seems all that acid was having irritating effects on her skin.

Filling a pop-sock with oatmeal and tying a knot in it, and sticking it in the tepid bath while it runs makes the water less irritating. Works well on chicken pox itches, too. Squeeze it out a few times to get more of the oat milk into the bathwater.

Really lovely blog, by the way. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into it.