Eczema and the impact on family life.

Aaron has suffered atopic eczema since he was a few weeks old.  His wrists and legs are almost always dry and itchy but eczema on the rest of his body depends on so many other things.  He has food allergies and intolerances that affect his eczema but on the whole we manage to lead what we consider a normal life. Sometimes though, I realise the extra work or thought that has to go into daily life with a child with eczema.  This is a list of the areas of our life that are affected by eczema and a few details of how.  For those of you reading this who are parents of children with eczema, I am sure you can tell me more I’ve forgotten.

1. Food
Constant label checking for ingredients that might/will flare him up. Restricted eating out due to avoidance of ingredients or contamination that will flare him up. Home-baking is necessary to allow him a more varied diet. At least it’s healthy and good fun 

2. House
Cleaning products we choose, including soap we use for hand washing. The impact greasy emollients have on our house: smudges/handprints on walls, surfaces, carpets, books. Specific towels we use for Aaron for bathtime. Space we need in his room for stock of creams and ones we use on regular basis.

3. Travel
Weather = sunscreen issues & air conditioning in planes and hotels. Luggage allowance taken up with tubs of creams. Leaky bath additive in luggage. (Not fun) Luggage allowance for the amount of clothes for Aaron. Since he cannot manage with wearing the same thing over and over if covered in creams. Let’s face it hand washing does not get emollients out well at all. Space for Free From snacks. See Bedding for staying with friends/family, see Bedding, Food, House & Childcare

4. Clothes
Non-scratchy cotton only. The elastic on pants and shorts always gets destroyed by emollients, so droopy pants are a regular occurrence and a belt is a necessity. This also means we can’t pass on his pants to Matias or sell them. Finding laundry detergent that works with his skin & then finding it in shops is a bit of a hassle. Constant laundry due to emollient on his clothes (and ours!). Everyday Aaron doesn’t get much experience of dressing himself as negotiating clothes over his creamed-up, sticky skin is hard enough for us sometimes.

5. Bedding
Cost & finding 100% cotton pajamas. Mattress research. Grease & blood on sheets mean frequent changes of bedding. 100% cotton bedding – sheets, pillow cases, mattress protector, pillow protector, duvet cover, duvet case and duvet

6. Prescriptions
Managing the GP/pharmacy system of reviews and availability and picking up of prescriptions is so incredibly time-consuming. Managing stock of prescriptions at home, and for travel.

7. Toiletries
Trying new ones poses risk of a new flare up. Finding new irritant-free products, then finding them for sale easily – and cheaply!

8. Sleep
Constant lack of sleep due to tending to Aaron at night when his skin is bad and he needs lots of cream on. Bedtime routine and discipline is tricky as we cannot ignore an itchy child or plea for cream, even if we know it might be/is a delaying technique. Putting cream on at night in the dark usually means we both end up wide awake, or find random cream on the carpet or somewhere in the morning (beware pump dispensers in the dark!) or even injury.

Let me know if you can think of any more to add!

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