This is a new series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Joan Ong, to share how she manages her son’s eczema while encouraging him to take part in outdoor sports. I first learnt of Joan’s son’s eczema when her business partner contacted me about Rise and Shine expo. Joan is one of the founding members of Rise and Shine expo, with over 12 years’ experience in event management.
Marcie Mom: Hi Joan, thanks for taking part in my new blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! As you know, my blog has always featured expert advice, but in 2013, I just feel like encouraging my readers through sharing journeys of real persons who had to manage eczema in their daily life. Let’s start with you sharing a little of your son’s eczema, was there a most severe time in his life and what are the triggers for his eczema?
Joan: Both my husband and me have mild eczema problem and I personally have asthma. As eczema is linked to asthma, it is very likely that my son’s condition is hereditary.
I don’t think my son’s condition is considered serious as compared to many kids out there but it is bad enough to make us running from doctor to doctor and paying lots of medical fees to try to get him cured. When he has flare up, his feet and hands will go very red and itchy. He will also have ring-like rashes on his face and other parts of his body.
It really makes us very sad to see our little baby’s beautiful skin covered up with eczema and the saddest thing is that all doctors will tell you that eczema cannot be cured.
Marcie Mom: My daughter’s eczema is triggered by sweat and heat, but we both know how important exercise is (read that kids are supposed to exercise for 2-3 hours a day) and how much fun they’d miss out if they didn’t do sports (or simply, have fun) outdoors. Does your son likes outdoor sports, and is there one activity he really loves, and does it lead to any eczema flares thereafter?
Joan: My son loves water and we regularly bring him out for swimming. One tip we got from a doctor is to use lots of sunblock on him so that there is a protective layer. After which, shower him in bath oil and put lots of moisturizer on him. It has seemed to work so far.
Marcie Mom: For those interested to learn more about exercise, swimming and eczema, do refer to Dr Christopher Bridgett’s advice here, Dr Sears L.E.A.N.’s advice here and Dr Lynn Chiam’s advice here. One of the activities that my daughter loves is swimming (aka playing in the pool), which we started her at 7-month old when her doctor, Prof Hugo, recommended it. I make sure to run to the shower after her swim, shower her and moisturize.
Joan, is there any routine that you practice after your son finishes his outdoor play?
Joan: We will normally time his outdoor play just before his shower and after which, the whole moisturizing routine will kick in. And if we see that he starts to flare up, we will immediately apply medical cream on him to prevent the condition will from turning worse. And this really has proven effective so far.
Marcie Mom: One final question – when would you not let your son do outdoors sports, say (a) he seems a little scratchy, (b) there’s more eczema rashes or (c) when his eczema flaring? And the real last question, do you also do outdoor sports with him? LoL do remember to apply sunscreen, for the whole family!
Joan: When his eczema is flaring, we will definitely not engage him in any outdoor sports that will cause him to sweat. There are many activities for children indoor with aircon and hence, we have lots of choices to get him active and engage in play in a social setting without the heat and the sweat.
And yes, my husband and me always do outdoor activities with him just and it is great bonding time!
Marcie Mom: Thanks Joan for taking time to share your journey with your son’s eczema and managing outdoor sports and play.