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On the Farm with Skin Problems

Holding a downy baby chick is the sweetest thing. We moved to a farm when my oldest granddaughter was 4. Having been city folks, we were eager to introduce the animals living in the big old barn. We soon learned that itchy skin problems and irritating allergens could disrupt even the best times. We faced many challenges living on the farm with skin problems.

A day on the farm

A new litter of kittens by the hay shed were sure to be extra fun for the grandkids. When they came to spend the weekend with Nana, we were up early for a hearty breakfast. After pulling on our boots, we headed out the door. The bright sunshine, blue clouds, and birds chattering seemed to cheer us on as we marched toward the barn.

Potential allergies?

After crossing the cattle guard, we first came to the chicken coop. The soft peeping chorus led us to baby chicks singing under the warmer light. Soon, a rooster came out and perched on the fence announcing the day with his loud crow. Elle made a lunge to grab him. Jill sneezed. My radar went up.

Eczema rash breaking out

Grabbing their little hands, we walked around the hay bales, toward the fence where the kittens were nested in a corner. As I lead the girls closer, Elle ducked under the barbed wire and got her diaper caught. Jill sneezed again and started scratching her ears and neck.

Leaving the scene

My heart sank. Scooping them both up with promises of more pancakes, we trotted back toward the house. The sun was higher up overhead now, but my heart was sinking. We held hands and sang all the way back.

Washing off the allergens

Their clothes came off in the garage and went straight in the washer. I scooted them into a quick bath, including sudsing their hair. After applying Elidel on Jill’s neck and ears, we settled on the sofa to read a book about baby animals on the farm. They talked excitedly about their adventure. Nana battled PTSD and tried not to feel guilty.

Back to the chicken coop

After lunch, Elle wanted to go back and “hug” the rooster. We talked about how it made Jill’s skin red and itchy. Then, I formulated a plan of action. This time, we got in the car.

Avoiding allergens

Once we arrived at the chicken coop, Elle was halfway inside the fence before I got the keys out of the ignition. Jill shook her curls from side to side and announced that she was staying in the car. I cracked the window, where she happily watched her little sis. She giggled with delight as Elle chased a hen. I invited her to join us, offering a fresh bath when we got home. Nope. She was satisfied right where she was.

Worry-free

After we tucked in that night, I said a prayer for our family. I didn’t want Jill to miss anything, to feel different. I didn’t want her to have any physical discomfort from rashes or breakouts either. I recalled her joy at the end of our day. It dawned on me that Jill wasn’t a bit worried.

Not letting eczema get in the way

It was one more lesson in understanding that she would learn to cope with skin problems in her own way. My outwardly calm reaction of joy and peace helped her to discover it within herself. We’ve had many more outings over the years. She has built-in coping skills that allow her to experience all the fun things in life no matter how her skin reacts.

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