National Eczema Association – Raising Awareness and Providing Support

For those of you who like to read the journeys of other eczema sufferers, do check out the National Eczema Association website which is a great resource. My journey “Getting through the Darkest Moments..” has been published on NEA’s website, and there are several other journeys shared. Do read them!

Eczema Journeys on National Eczema Association website

Eczema Journeys on National Eczema Association website

Eczema Blues Google Collections

For the past 6 months, I’ve been receiving emails on where to find certain information and this prompted me to create Google Collections for your ease of reference, under my Google Plus Profile

A graphical way to search for eczema related posts on Eczema Blues

A graphical way to search for posts on Eczema Blues

You can continue to find information on this blog, using

  1. Search button on the right top
  2. Topics under menu bar drop-down list at Eczema Tips
  3. Interview series with Featured Guests
  4. Categories on right side column
  5. Tagged words on right side column

Hope that this eczema blog continues to be of help to you and make your life with eczema better!

Ask #SkinishMom – Day in life of MarcieMom

Daily Skincare for Eczema Children

MarcieMom was interviewed on her daily life with Marcie here (for a fellow mom’s business whose daughter Patricia also had eczema). Thought it’d be good to share with everyone her routine and the ‘quirks’ of taking care of an eczema child.

Morning

I wake up around 7am and get Marcie ready for the school bus. Our mornings in the week always involve applying lots of moisturiser and sometimes it can be a struggle but the afternoon on weekdays are my breather because I work while Marcie is in preschool.

A good moisturizer is one the eczema child uses!

A good moisturizer is one the child uses!

Afternoon

At the weekend, our afternoons are for finishing up homework and then going for a quick shower to freshen up and clean off sweat residue to help Marcie cool down in the hot Singapore weather, followed by moisturising with an intensive cream. We always use a thicker cream in the afternoon as the next time we moisturise Marcie will be bedtime, which can be quite a few hours away!

Evening 

When it comes to the weekend evening, we take her swimming to kill the staph bacteria. When her eczema is itchy we use lots of different techniques to distract and keep her happy which I wrote about in this post. My favourite is always letting her play with ice. This is because it’s free of charge – and easy to wipe up! Now that Marcie is older, she doesn’t play with ice as much but we always order ice water for her still.

I hope that's not why my eczema toddler is happy in the pool!

I hope that’s not why my eczema toddler is happy in the pool!

One advice

My advice to other parents who have a child who suffers with Eczema, is to stick with your spouse as both of you will be pillars of support for each other and to have faith. Also, take time to relax and never blame yourself.

What is your day like? Share in the comments!

Interview with Children Book authors of My Peace Place

My Peace Place's Book Tour Stop at EczemaBlues

My Peace Place’s Book Tour Stop at EczemaBlues

peace placeThis is a special interview with children book authors, Lori Bortnick and Mari Lumpkin, on their book My Peace Place. The book encourages children to find their ‘peace place’, especially in today’s high-strung world with busy schedules and much noise. I gladly agree to do a book review and interview Lori and Mari on EczemaBlues because eczema kids and parents have so much added stress in their life from managing eczema. Check out the book for tips on calming your child.

Mei’s Review of ‘My Peace Place’

The book is written by Lori Bortnick and Mari Lumpkin, illustrated by Natalia Buscaglia. The story itself fills up 15 pages of colored illustrations on various scenarios in a child’s life that create stress – for instance, being pushed in school or feeling ignored at home. The child then think of his peace place, where he can relax, breathe slowly and deeply and feel peaceful. The scenarios are realistic and thus offers parents a good chance to speak to the child on other similar stressors that may have happened in the day. It is easy to read for a preschooler who can definitely benefit from a parent’s participation in finding that peace place.

Apart from the story, the book also offers tips to parents as well as recommended yoga poses for the child. This is helpful as it further reinforces how stressful conditions are all around us and practical tips to calm ourselves. Overall, I enjoy the book and feel parents will find it helpful.

Interview with authors Lori and Mari

MarcieMom: Hi Lori and Mari, thanks for sharing with me your book. Can you share a little background on yourselves that lead you to focus on writing this book?

Lori: Thanks so much for having us and reviewing our book. I’m a preschool teacher and I love to help children think of ideas to have better lives. Lots of times, my children come to school sad about things they can’t control I think My Peace Place will help children gain a sense of control.

Mari: I’ve worked with children in many settings, usually as a literacy volunteer. I’m always amazed that people don’t see that much of the problem behavior we complain about our children exhibiting can be connected to their not having the tools to manage stress.

MarcieMom: At what age do you think children can benefit most from your book?

Lori: School aged children and kids in group situations.

Mari: I think children as young as three can benefit from the yoga poses and the deep breathing. I believe the ideas and techniques in the book could benefits everyone from age 3 to 103.

MarcieMom: If you were to write a follow-up to this book, what will you be focusing on?

Lori: How to bring peace to large groups. Once children learn to be peaceful in themselves, then they can learn to focus on reaching out and learn to find peaceful solutions in groups.

Mari: We’re also thinking of doing something about volunteering. That’s another healthy activity that releases people from their own worries and promotes peace.

Thank you both for sharing your book and this interview; it has been a pleasure and also a reminder to create peace in my home. One pet peeve that I believe in is de-cluttering the home because clutter equals noise in my mind!

Mari L Barnes writes for children under the pen name of Mari Lumpkin and for adults as ML Barnes. Her books, Parting River Jordan and Crossing River Jordan are proof that church can be funny. Mari’s company, Flying Turtle Publishing, specializes in books that families can share.

Lori Bortnick is an Illinois certified Early Educator with type 04 certification, a master’s degree in Teaching in Early Childhood and more 15 years of teaching experience in both private daycare and the public school system.

To see Flying Turtle Publishing’s Virtual Book Tour schedule and be entered to WIN a $10 Amazon Gift Card in our monthly drawing, click here.

Loving my Eczema baby

Loving Eczema Hubby and Baby at EczemaBlues.com

Valentine’s Day – A love Poem by Eczema Mom

I love you, no matter what

No sleep so deep

A minute rest at best

Tempers, tantrums

Flare and Flare-ups

But

Learning to love

Watching us grow

Living today

Loving tomorrow

A poem to celebrate Valentine’s Day. My daughter said she’s making a valentine’s day card for me, if it’s decent, I’ll post it! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you, and I do hope that my devotional on every friday this year is filling your family life with love. Hugs!

Shingles for Eczema Child

Shingles in a child with eczema

Shingles in a child with eczema

Sometime end of last year, my daughter with eczema had a case of Shingles! We didn’t think it was shingles as it is not very common that young children (age 4) get shingles. But she did – as she also had chickenpox before at about age 2. (She also likely had many times of Hand Foot Mouth Disease!)

Before we cover the basics of shingles, just want to share our experience of a 4 year old eczema child getting shingles.

First 2-3 days: She got itchier than normally, and small red bumps started appearing around her torso. We didn’t know it’s shingles, how would we when it is not very different from eczema flare-up?

Next 2 days: More pronounced bumps and blisters on one side of her torso and she complained about some of the bumps being painful. We brought her to a general practitioner who then diagnosed it as shingles and gave her medication cream to apply.

Next 2-3 days: The blisters/ rashes subsided, and she’s as good as she normally is!

On hindsight, there are certain symptoms to look out for:

  1. The rashes being painful.
  2. The rashes being only on one half of her torso.
  3. The rashes looking a little different from her normal eczema rash (but really, it’s quite hard to tell in the first 2-3 days).

What we did:

Apart from the medication cream that the doctor prescribed, we did the usual and continued with moisturizing and shower. There’s no apparent change in her diet or sleep pattern. She got it after a few of her classmates were ill, so I’m not sure if a reduced immunity assisted in the onset of shingles. Now let’s find out more about it!

What is Shingles?

Shingles is an infection caused by the chicken pox virus (varicella zoster), and only people who had chickenpox can get shingles. This is because the virus still remained dormant in the body and later reactivated and become shingles.

Obviously, don’t go to school or crowded place (7 days). Someone who had not have chickenpox may get chickenpox after contact with one with shingles.

Who can get Shingles?

Generally, people over 50 with weaker immune system are at higher risk of shingles, if they had chickenpox before. But as we know, children as young as 4 year old can get shingles!

What are the Symptoms?

Various signs are pain, tingling, burning sensation on one side of body, mostly on the torso. This can be accompanied by fever, chills and headache. Blisters will develop in the next few days, get crusted and pain may linger after the blisters are healed.

How to treat Shingles?

No treatment needed, but the pain can be soothed by pain relievers or cold compress. Anti-viral medication or cream may be prescribed.

How to prevent Shingles?

Chicken pox vaccine can be considered for those who have not had chicken pox. Keeping immune system strong helps, i.e adequate sleep (something which an eczema child lacks of!), lower stress level and healthy lifestyle.

Share your experience in the comments too, it can help other parents going through the same!

(Video) 2014 Eczema Lovexcitement

[youtube=http://youtu.be/0qOcRa9Zxes]

Hello Everyone!

Happy New Year, 2014! It is a joy to have walked through 3 solid years with you all, and in 2014, I’m making more videos – starting with this one! A video recapping the laughter (cartoons), the information (expert interviews) and the tears and joy (Friday eczema sharing from round the globe) – totaling a staggering 489 posts! Look forward to many more comments and connecting more with each and everyone of you. Take care, hugs!

Mei
p.s. this year, my book is going to be published, watch out for it – do subscribe to my newsletter at right side of blog to be kept updated of more news! (include giveaways too!)

Counting Eczema Blessings at Christmas

english bulldogs dressed up as santa and rudolph

It’s almost end of 2013 and I have to resist the urge to recount my year as my mind inevitably ended up recounting all the years since I can remember something (which is at age 2 – I know, freakish isn’t it?) Ever since I’ve become a mom (to my lovely daughter Marcie 4 years ago), I haven’t had much time to count anything since the eczema already took up much time and any time I’ve left, I’d rather chill with a latte and a good book than wasting more of my time recounting the past.

BUT

One evening not long ago, someone asked me during bible study ‘What helped you got over the dark period when Marcie’s eczema was bad?’, ‘Did you struggle with God?’

I paused.

I replied – We got through it, after struggling with God. It has become a blessing.

Yes, you heard right. Though I wouldn’t want my child to have eczema if I have a choice, helping her with her eczema had knitted my husband and I closer – after all, it’s the first challenge we’ve been through as parents! Learning about eczema and sharing our resources with other families out there through local support group, local financial support scheme, my books (picture and wordy one), this blog and being available whenever a desperate mom emailed me had been a blessing to us.

But I missed something.

Somewhere when doing all of the above, I have failed to connect deeper with God who has blessed me with the resources – time, money, experts, doctors, nurses, a co-author, eczema community and friends. In 2014, I would start a devotional on Friday, a few words to encourage parents. This I feel is the right thing to do.

What do you think? Any wish list for EczemaBlues in 2014?

SOMEONE has Eczema and manages her Children’s Sleepover

Iman shares about her own eczema and that of her sons

Iman shares about her own eczema and that of her sons

This is a 2013 series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Iman Ogoo, who has eczema herself and also her sons have allergies, and shares how she manages her sons’ sleepovers. Iman is the founder of Imanmade Natural Skincare.

Marcie Mom: Hi Iman, thanks so much for taking part in my Friday blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! I know it’s a busy time for you, and truly appreciate you taking time for this sharing. Let’s start with you sharing a little of your eczema history, and on your children.

Iman: I had acute eczema from early childhood alongside food allergies, plant allergies and contact allergies to various substances. I was the only member of my family with any kind of skin problem/allergy, but my parents did their best to treat my eczema with conventional steroid ointments and petroleum based emollients which often aggravated my skin further. Thankfully I grew out of most of the allergies and my skin has improved over the years, but I am still prone to eczema and regularly suffer from allergic rhinitis (to dust, mould etc).

I have three sons aged 10, 9 and 4 years, and since birth the younger two boys have had life threatening food allergies as well as severe eczema and asthma.

As a result of our constant reactions to commercial skin care products, I started to make my own skin care at home and over time I turned my creations into a business, helping others to care for their dry and sensitive skin.

Marcie Mom: Sleepovers are particularly worrying for mothers, especially if their children have allergies. What are your sons’ allergies and had there been any incident thus far?

Iman: In addition to the eczema, my youngest son has severe food allergies to dairy, peanuts, egg and a milder allergy to wheat. My middle son is severely allergic to peanuts, egg and fish.  Both carry Epipen (adrenaline) injections and antihistamines everywhere they go in case of reactions. Cat and dog allergies are also an issue along with dust and mould.

Because the allergic reactions can be life-threatening, sleepovers tend to be restricted to their granparents and a select few friends/family. Thankfully we have had no major emergency allergy situations at a sleepover, but my sons often return from sleepovers with inflamed eczema due to the presence of pets or the detergent used to bedding/ etc. To be honest, It can be very frustrating for me, especially if their skin had just cleared up from a bad bout of eczema.

Marcie Mom: What precaution do you take before the sleepover?

Iman: Due to the complexity of my sons having both allergies and eczema, I felt it was best to create a little ‘manual’ for friends and family, to help them to confidently care for my sons. Looking after a child with allergies and eczema can be very daunting, especially for those who have no experience of it before and verbal information is easily forgotten. In the manual I clearly describe each boy’s allergies, how to use their medication (I have a training Epipen to teach the carer beforehand if necessary), foods to avoid, safe foods, a detailed skin care routine, and extra tips/ comforting techniques for each child.

I also provide appropriate skin care products, toiletries and medicines, all clearly labeled, and any speciality foods like non-dairy milk, or wheat alternative pasta. On some occasions I provide a cooked meal to make things easier for the carer.

I ask for pets to be kept away from my children as much as possible, and that extra care is taken to vacuum any pet hairs on carpets and furniture.

I have also had to teach my son’s their allergens from a young age so they could be aware and ask the right questions when away from home.

We hardly ever use the manual any more as friends and family are quite comfortable with caring for my sons. My older sons are also very aware of my 4 year old’s allergies so it’s reassuring for me that they can help to ensure no mistakes are made with his care in my absence.

Marcie Mom: One final question – any recommendation for parents on hosting a sleepover for their child’s friends?

Iman:

  • Talk to the parents to find out about any allergies their child may have. Ask the parent to give any specific medical info in clear, written form.
  • Try to provide lightweight, cotton bedlinen that haven’t been washed with harsh detergents and highly perfumed fabric conditioners.
  • A young child may get distressed with itching at night. Prepare to comfort the child and not scold them for scratching. A cold, wet flannel or icepack wrapped in a towel and pressed against the itchy site can temporarily relieve the irritation.

Marcie Mom: Thank you so much Iman for sharing your sleepover experience! A mom goes through it too, especially as it does take some planning!

Iman: Thank you for interviewing me Mei, you’re doing a great job informing your followers about living with childhood eczema.

SOMEONE Manages Eczema Baby and Nut Allergic Child

Gail shares on managing eczema and allergy for her baby son and daughter, and oh, they look so lovely!

Gail shares on managing eczema and allergy for her baby and teenage daughter, and oh, they look so lovely!

This is a 2013 series focused on a personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Gail, who shares about managing eczema for her baby and nut allergy for her older daughter. Gail has spent much time looking for products to help families with eczema, and has it all under one roof at her store, Everything for Eczema.

Marcie Mom: Hi Gail, it’s good to have you share in this series! Let’s start with you sharing a little of your older daughter’s nut allergy and the extent of care that is required.

Gail: Hi Mei.  My older daughter, Charlie, was diagnosed with a nut and seed allergy when she was 3 and she’s now 14.  The biggest challenges now that she is a teenager are that she hates carrying her epi-pens around with her as she feels they make her seem different to everyone else.  She will frequently take them out of her bag before she goes to school or out with friends.   Now that she eats out more without me, it’s also a worry as she is very self-conscious about asking whether there are nuts or seeds in a meal.

Marcie Mom: What about care for the younger baby? When did the eczema start and was the scratching intensive?

Gail: My younger daughter’s eczema started when she was just 6 weeks old.  Within a couple of months the whole of her body was covered in eczema and she often needed to have her legs and arms bandaged.  Tallulah was incredibly itchy and would scratch until she bled if left alone for more than a few seconds.  Bath times and nappy changing times were incredibly stressful as this was when she could get at her skin and scratch uncontrollably.

Marcie Mom: How did you manage bedtime for all of your children? What was the most difficult part?

Gail: Bedtime was one of the worst times of the day.  Tiredness would always make Tallulah extra itchy and she would need lots of attention.  This would have a knock on effect on Charlie who would start to feel left out.  It probably didn’t help that I was very sleep deprived too!

Marcie Mom: One final question – was there a turning point during this period which made it easier for your family to manage eczema and allergies for your children?

Gail: Establishing a good bedtime routine really helped.  When my little one was tucked up in bed I would then spend some quiet time with my older daughter so that she felt special too. Finally getting some sleep was a turning point for us all.  Suddenly you start to feel human again!

Marcie Mom: Thank you Gail for your sharing, it is truly not easy to manage all of it and we keep our fingers crossed that night time will get better for all families with eczema kids!

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