This is a series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Sarah Chapman, whose third son has eczema since three-month old. Today, she shares how she managed her son’s Allergic March. Sarah is a volunteer with AllergyUK and had shared her allergy knowledge nationwide.
Marcie Mom: Hi Sarah thanks so much for taking part in my Friday blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! Let’s start with you sharing a little of your family’s eczema and allergy history, and when did eczema or allergy start and what’s the severity?
Sarah: I had eczema soon after birth, and throughout my childhood. I still get it every now and then. My maternal grandfather had it all his life. I can remember him scratching! My mother and her brothers had eczema as well. There is also a lot of asthma in my family and nickel allergies.
My husband has asthma with links to environmental allergies.
Marcie Mom: I understand that your son, now 17 year old, experienced the Allergic March, progressing from eczema to allergies. What was his condition from birth to a young child?
Sarah: Our 3rd son had eczema day 10 after birth, and as time went by he had a poor sleep pattern (by that I mean an inability to sleep for longer than 2 separate hours a night, and 20 min cat naps a day) He also had very slow and poor weight gain, even though breastfeeding was going well. These are the early signs of food allergy in a breast fed infant before three months old.
As he grew his eczema was very hard to control, his daily treatment was 5- 8 all body emollients and twice daily low dose steroid cream. Just before we were about to start wet wrapping treatment we discovered that he had an egg allergy and then peanut at 13 months old. I had also started to suspect that environmental allergies, like pollen, dog and cat were a problem. At 18 months old immunologist confirmed allergies to, dust mite, cat, dog, tree pollen, hay fever, egg, tree nut, peanut.
As we paid a great deal to lessen dust mite exposure and pollen in our home, and controlled diet and his skin improved. When I stopped breastfeeding him, his skin got instantly better, but he began to catch every infection going, and skin became infected and so on.
Treatment added to original eczema plan, change of emollients, eye drops, nasal sprays, antihistamine during hay fever and tree pollen season. Age 2 epi pens, and emergency plan for anaphylaxis.
Like many allergic children he physically shows signs of being an allergic child. He has a ‘captains salute’ a small dry crease on top of nose from rhinitis, from using hand to push up nose from constant nose drip. He is a mouth breather child, again a sign of poorly controlled rhinitis.
He has dark rings, and an extra dry crease under his eyes. He also has derma- graphism (am not sure about the spelling of that btw!) which means that if he is slightly scratched a wheal will form within minutes. He also snored as a child which isn’t normal and is a sign of rhinitis.
Rhinitis has a major impact on sleep quality, and babies and young children require sleep to grow. Concentration at school when you have a totally blocked nose 24/7 is very difficult and so has impact on education.
Marcie Mom: How did the eczema progress when he started elementary school?
Sarah: As he neared 5 his eczema improved, this is typical of an allergic march child, and at the same time his rhinitis and environmental allergies were making more of an impact. We had discovered more food allergies to add to list. Eczema treatment 3 full body emollient a day, and no steroid cream required. Except after food reaction in which eczema would appear as hives and other IgE response symptoms disappeared.
Age 5 allergies, Dust mite, Tree Pollen, hay fever, dog , cat , egg, peanut, legumes, tree nut, kiwi fruit.
Age 7 Dog allergy considered life threatening, change to emergency treatment plan, oral steroids and asthma inhaler (has asthma response during allergic reaction, but not asthmatic) yeast extract new food allergy.
Food challenge in allergy clinic confirmed outgrown cooked egg allergy = increase in food choice with higher calories.(still underweight.)
Age 10 Outgrown raw egg allergy in food challenge. Dog allergy lessened and quality of life improved, for instance sleep overs with friends who have dog, controlled with antihistamine.
Eczema,dry skin only.
Marcie Mom: What was his condition as a preteen and teenager? Did puberty change his condition? And how is your son now, as a young adult?
Sarah: By 12 redeveloped raw egg allergy, and by 13 possibly cooked egg, now at 17 prefers to avoid himself. Food allergies: Egg, Peanut, some Legumes, Brazil nut, Yeast Extract, Kiwi Fruit, Hay Fever, Mold, Tree Pollen, Dust Mite.
Skin very dry, but otherwise OK!
We have used epi pen 3 times so far, but despite this is gaining confidence in his ability to buy food independently and going out with his friends.
Marcie Mom: Thanks Sarah for taking time to share your son’s allergic march, it is useful for parents to know but hopefully, won’t go through the full allergic march!