This is a 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?
- 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.