Asthma, Allergies, and Eczema… Oh My!

Asthma, Allergies, and Eczema… Oh My!

Sometimes when I tell stories about my childhood people have a look on their face like they’re watching a really scary movie and waiting for the “bad guy” to pop out. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of happy memories, too, however my early years are filled with what we will call “problems”. My Dad got custody of me when I was 5. Soon after I was in his care I needed to be hospitalized. It was discovered that I have been living with asthma for a few months and it wasn’t being cared for. While I was in the hospital it was also discovered that I had severe eczema. At first, they thought it was a skin rash from having such a high fever. I was in the hospital because of my asthma for 5 days. When I was released the fun was just beginning for my single Dad.

Eczema proofing the house

The first thing he had to do was change all of my sheets and every fragrance in the house. The combination of my severe allergies and eczema couldn’t be around any articles that were heavily scented. Even my Dad’s cologne would cause a flare up. I wasn’t allowed to be around dust, pollen, animals, you name it!

“I literally look back and think I should have been living in a real-life bubble.”

By the age of six my eczema was still pretty unpredictable. My Dad said the dermatologist suggested I get an allergy test. The dermatologist said that my eczema seemed to flare up when I was around certain allergens so they wanted to determine what exactly I was allergic to. I remember being SO nervous about this. I was 6 years old and I remember the Doctor’s name was “Dr. Check”. At the clever age of 6 I remember sitting in the waiting room thinking, “I wonder if she became a doctor just so she can give people “check-ups”. At the wise age of 33 I realize now that it was just a wild coincidence.

The allergy test

The allergy test consisted of getting 10 pricks on the inside of my forearm. A small amount of a specific allergen was injected into the skin of my arm. After 15 minutes, if a hive formed on that area, that meant I was allergic to that allergen. It was determined that every exterior allergen that can be exposed to my skin was an indicator that would cause a flare up. It was also determined I was allergic to eggs. I had eggs every day for breakfast so I remember thinking “well, that stinks!” Another discovery unrelated to eczema is that I am allergic to bees and I am 33 years lucky to never have been stung! (Cross your fingers for me.)

“The findings of this allergy test and asthma diagnosis went way beyond tissues, inhalers, or nose spray for me.”

The impact of my atopic eczema

These other conditions were also the main cause of my eczema. It meant no pets, no flowers, no perfume, no nail polish, no bubble bath… basically to a child the condition felt like… NO life! For my sister, my condition meant she had to do all the chores because I couldn’t be around dust (thank you, eczema!) And for a single dad my condition felt like….”Help!!” Here I am at 33 and we all survived. It is a long journey that takes patience and most importantly consistency. Because let’s face it those flare ups can sneak up on you like a bad guy in a movie!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (2)
  • Jean25
    1 year ago

    Karolina DeMarco, Thanks for your story. As of yet, I do not have asthma. But as a child I was allergic to everything. Zest soap was all that I can use and cotton everything! My excema went away in my teen year and twenties. In my 50’s now and it is back with a vengeance. My poor husband has taken on all the cleaning cooking. Although, I never cooked for him. He cooked for me and that was it. I am lung sensitive to all cleaning products. If he cleans the bathroom. He does it when I am sleeping, closes both my door and the bathroom door and ventilate with a window. No go on Lysol, bleach is out and ammonia is totally out. Strong perfumes and smokes affects me. I did not see it as a hindrance. Just like today, if a food becomes a problem, it’s just out. No fuss no muss. My mom put socks on my hands as a kid, now I hear her voice telling me not to scratch, so I don’t. Now in my sleep is another story. I wake up bleeding sometimes. But we do what we have to do.
    Again, Thank you
    Jean

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    1 year ago

    Jean25,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, we are glad that you were able to relate to Karolyn’s story. Know that you are not alone, as many community members have said that they have numerous allergies too.

    I am sorry to hear that your eczema has recently returned with a vengeance. I admire your husbands diligence in caring for you, making sure to clean at times when you will not be exposed to the products that you are sensitive to. Your perseverance with eliminating food allergens and struggle to resist scratching at night time speaks volumes to how eczema can impact every aspect of a person’s life.

    Stories are often a great way to connect to those with similar experiences, so if you’re interested in sharing yours similar to how Karolyn has shared hers, we would be honored: https://atopicdermatitis.net/story/. We thank you for taking the time to comment here, and hope that this site will continue to be a place of connection and support to you.

    Best,
    Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • Poll