Because I want you to hear me, I will start with the good news. My nieces, who suffered severe eczema flareups (total body) in their infancy starting at 3 months old, were completely healed of their eczema in two weeks time without the use of medications. The oldest niece has been eczema free for six years and the middle niece, for four years (until recently). However, and because we understand eczema, the middle niece who suffered a total body eczema reaction after a bout with Antibiotics to treat strep throat, was again completely healed in two weeks time without medication.
There are four major reasons that your son's eczema has been around for twenty months. They are Zyrtec, Locoid, Protopic, and benadryl. When eczema patients became aware of the damaging effects of steroids and the immune system, the pharmaceutical companies began to promote their steroid free medications, protopic and elidel. Both protopic and elidel carry black box warning labels due to their links to cancer. Considering the relatively short period of time that these medications have been on the market, their link to cancer suggests that the developement of cancer with the prolonged use of these types of medications is fairly rapid. The side effects that each of these medications produce aren't a faint possibility; they are a very real possibility. With each of the drugs you've mentioned, an eczema reaction is a side effect. It's either listed as hives or a rash (that's eczema). Eczema or dermatitis is inflammation of the skin. An eczema reaction is a toxic reaction. Those medicines are toxic.
The medicines like zyrtec and benadryl are immune suppressing medications. Considering that it is the immune system that defends the body against allergens, irritants, etc., then it becomes quick to see the problem that arises in the constant suppression of an immune system that's already weak. How can a body defend itself when you cut off the thing that's suppose to defend it?
Eczema sufferers assume that because they've been classified as having an overactive immune system that it somehow equates to a strong immune system. This is not the case. It is not overactive because it is strong. It is overactive in its response to allergens/irritants because it (the immune system) is out of balance, unhealthy; and as a result, overwhelmed by toxins infecting, affecting or effecting the body. When you understand that an eczema reaction is a result of an unhealthy immune system being overwhelmed by toxins, then your outlook on eczema changes. Instead of suppressing the immune system, you develope the point of view that states, "What can I do to improve the health of the immune system; so that the body can move from a defensive/weak position to an offensive/strong position in the fight for health. In other words, you switch from the "symptom suppressing" point of view to the "healing the body" point of view.
The eczema symptom alerts an individual to the toxic dangers inside the body, that are made evident to our physical eyes by the skin manifestation on the outside of the body. Eczema is a high level of toxic release. Toxins exit the body in three ways: through the bowels, the urine, and the skin. Often, the very medications that are prescribed to treat eczema promote longterm suffering; in that they are considered, by the body, as toxins. What the human body sees as its true medicine are the vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids it needs to operate in healthy manner. How the body obtains these essential nutrients is through whole food sources and water. Nutrition, despite what your doctors profess, is essential to the health of eczema sufferers. This is the main reason for my nieces longterm success with eczema freedom.
Because I had 30+ years of experience with eczema suffering due to harsh medications, I was determined that this (harsh medications) would not be the path my nieces would follow. I asked my brother to trust me and give me the time to see if my common sense or practical approach would work. It did and it has for six years and counting.
Internal, external, and foreign. This is a quick phrase to lead you in the process of eczema healing. Internal addresses the immune health through healthy nutrition and cleansing. External addresses the skin care through natural (vitamin/mineral enriched) skin care products that are free of the toxic/synthetic chemical ingredient that promotes eczema suffering. And finally, foreign addresses identification & removal of the toxic allergen/irritant promoting the eczema suffering.
Here are the deficiencies that are represented with an eczema flareup: beta carotene, zinc, quercetin, essential fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 & GLA), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Due to the extreme Elimination Diets that eczema sufferers are often required to follow, deficiencies in the following nutrients also arise: B complex vitamins (in particular, B3/Niacin, calcium, magnesium, and fiber). Since we feed the human body these nutrients through what we eat and drink, nutrition is, indeed, of major importance to an individual's immune health. Since eczema is considered an autoimmune disorder, nutrition (or the lack thereof) has to be addressed.
Of the essential nutrients listed above, beta carotene is a major player in the restoration of your child's immune health. Here are the foods that contain this essential nutrient: dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, collard greens), broccoli, romaine & green lettuce, squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. To learn more about what food you will need to begin to incorporate to aid in your son's immune health and eczema freedom, check out this website: http://www.wholehealthmd.com Review the "healing eczema with what you eat" section.
For my nieces, I placed a major focus on feeding them the green leafy vegetables daily (to this day). My initial reason for doing this was more instinct and based upon the fact that their mother had an aversion to dark green leafy vegetables and would not eat them (a foreign concept to most southeners - which I am). As I researched more, I learned that these particular vegetables were sources of both beta carotene and fiber. I've already mentioned, to you, the benefits of the beta carotene; however, the fiber plays an equally important role. Fiber, besides promoting good digestive health, fights candida growth (a yeastlike parasite which promotes eczema flareups). In addition to that, digestive health is directly related to immune health because both have first hand dealings with toxins. For example; when a problem with the digestive health promotes constipation, that toxic back up begins to flood the bloodstream and find a way of exit through the skin. As a result, toxins that would normally be flushed out through the bowel or kidneys begin to overwhelm the immune system.
For the external skin care, you want to focus on all natural skin care products free of the toxins that would promote eczema suffering. For my nieces, the Burt's Bees Baby Bee skin care line was the option that worked (immediately) for us. When you look up the word, 'skin' in the World Book Encyclopedia, it states that the most important health regimine for the skin is to keep it clean. This is why good skin care; as opposed to topical skin medications, has proven to provide the best healing results. The skin is the body's largest organ; and in addition, is an external organ. The skin has first contact with and is the first line of defense against the elements. Keeping the skin clean of the elements that would daily effect it or come into contact with it, eliminates the atmosphere for bacteria growth. The natural means by which the skin eliminates toxins is through exfoliation of the dead skin cells. We aide the skin in this natural process through daily bathing.
For a wide variety of all natural skin care products, I suggest you take a visit to your local Whole Foods Market (a national chain). Because each eczema sufferer is unique, you may need to test the different options to ensure that your son doesn't have an allergen to a particular product. The moisturizer that we used for the girls was the Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk lotion; however, some infants may show or demonstrate an allergen to the natural fragrance (this wasn't the case for my nieces). Good fragrance free options for rehydration of the eczema skin are Borage Skin Therapy lotion by Shikai (pediatric formula) and Colloidal Skin Therapy lotion by Nature's Gate. For cleansing, Burt's Bees Buttermilk bath wash and the buttermilk soap are good as well as the Burt's Bees Vitamin E bath oil. Another option for good cleansers are colloidal oatmeal & aloe soaps located in the bath section of Whole Foods market. These are just a few of the vast amount of natural skin care options available. The longterm care of your skin is imperative to the longterm health of the skin. This is why finding good skin care (that will work with the natural chemistry of the body to promote healing) is the better option over the short term symptom suppressing option of topical skin medications.
In identifying the allergen/irritant culprits, the body is your best teacher. It will lead you in the process and give hints regarding the culprit. For example; a localized eczema flareup on the hands could indicate dishwashing liquid as a culprit. A localized eczema on the wrist or finger could indicate a watch or ring as the toxic culprit. A flareup on the back of the neck could indicate a clothing tag as the culprit. In children, a flareup isolated to the cheeks or face could indicate teething/stress or candida/thrush as a culprit. A full body flareup could indicate airborne allergens (like dust mites or pet dander) as the culprit. These are just a few examples of how the body leads you in the identification process.
Speaking of that process, here is the reason why your instincts are probably correct regarding your child's allergen to a dog or household pet. People tend to assume that it is the dog hair that an individual is allergic to; on the contrary, it is the pet dander that promotes the allergen. Pet dander is the flaky skin that sheds from the pet (just as our dead skin cells do in the exfoliation process). In the pet dander, bacteria lives. The pet dander gets into the fabric and air of the homes. It makes both an external contact with the skin, through touch; and an internal contact is made, through inhalation of the particles in the air.
Another possible major eczema irritant that you will need to consider is the chlorine or fluoride in your household water system. If this is the case, a water purification/filter system for your shower and bathroom faucets would be important purchases to implement. Those toxic chemicals are placed in the water to rid it of harmful bacteria; however, those toxic chemicals are equally toxic to the skin. As a result, you want to remove those toxins before they make contact with the skin.
Yet another possible eczema irritant that you may not have considered are Amalgam fillings or mercury. Breastfed babies could come in contact with this metal as a result of the level of metals in a mother's body, due to her previous dental work.
Yet another culprit for eczema suffering in babies for mothers not breastfeeding is baby formula. To combat this problem, parents have to search out the right baby formula that works with their child's system. This was the major culprit for my nieces; and as a result, we had to go through several until we found their right fit. If a baby formula promoted constipation, diarrhea, or an allergic reaction, it obviously wasn't the right fit. The right baby formula will produce a flush or bowel movement within 24 hours (daily bowel movements). Each of my nieces had different baby formulas that worked for them. For the oldest, it was alimentum; for the middle niece, it was carnation good start (without soy); and for the youngest, it was carnation good start (with soy).
Yet another culprit for infants with eczema are Antibiotics and immunizations. Speaking of which, the medications that you've been prescribed to treat your son's eczema still remain the biggest culprit, (in my opinion), for your son's longterm suffering. They've suppressed his immune system's ability to fight.
Don't feel overwhelmed that a multitude of allergen/irritants would prove problematic for your child. With a compromised immune system, it only makes sense that the vulnerability to eczema irritation would be high since the child's immune system is still in the developing stage. In this initial stage, you simply have to take on the role of the immune system (identification & removal of allergen irritants) until the immune system is strong enough to defend itself.
After reading this, if you make it this far, come back to me with any questions that you have and I will help lead you in the process. Just know this, my nieces are living examples (that even severe eczema) can be healed without the use of medications, but with the application of practical wisdom that addresses the cause and feeds the body the nourishment needed to promote the healing. It took two weeks for my nieces severe eczema skin (total body flareup) to completely heal. The process began immediately and has endured for the longterm.