Worrying About a Child’s Future with Eczema

It was such a touchy subject. I only remember a couple of conversations with my daughter about what it would be like for my granddaughter growing up with skin allergies. Of course, it wasn’t just skin problems, she also had tummy problems from food allergies. It kept me awake at night. As a high school teacher, I knew how important it was for a teenager to feel confident. I wanted her to have healthy skin that would lead to her having strong self-esteem. I wonder if any of you experience worrying about a child’s future with atopic dermatitis. I hope that my experience will calm some of your fears.

Overcoming the early years

As an infant, we were mostly concerned with helping her to eat healthy food that would not cause an allergic reaction. We wanted her autoimmune system to calm down. For us, it started with food. After an elimination diet, allergy testing, and a lot of patience, we found a routine that helped get her into the pre-school years without any infections.

During her first years at pre-school, she got to learn how to express herself to her peers and teachers. She brought her own lunch from home, and was quick to tell others, “No thank you, I’m allergic to that” when offered nuts, dairy, and other food allergens. What we found reassuring was that there were other kids in her class who had similar problems, so she wasn’t alone. Whew! What a relief!

Once she was in school all day, we had already learned to have a medicine bag for home, and one for school. Her teachers made sure that she had access to her itchy skin creams. Even when traveling on field trips, her little bag was right there if she needed it.

Managing the middle school milestones

Middle school was touchy again - for us, not her. We worried that some of her itch and scratch habits had left scarring. She was our greatest reassurance with her “who cares” attitude. She soaked up the sun in her swimsuits and put her hair up in a  ponytail even when her neck was irritated. She knew that staying cool was her best bet, and she felt like she was cool no matter what skin issue she was dealing with. We even learned that she experimented with ice cream on her own at a friends' birthday party. She was taking responsibility for her skin and tummy allergies all by herself.

One of the things that concerned our family most was when entering the teen years. Even those fears were set aside as she practiced healthy food and skin habits. Those daily routines we had established when she was little, became personal habits that kept her feeling cool and confident.

Hopeful for the future

Her mom and I really never even think about it now. She’s graduating from high school soon. Her part-time job and social activities keep her too busy to spend time worrying about little things, like skin problems. For the past 2 years, she has even become the friend that everyone seeks out for help with hair and makeup tricks. That kid has defied the odds. We can let go of worrying about our child's future with atopic dermatitis. She's a young lady now!

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