Connecting Allergies to Eczema
Ever since she was young, Catherine has been dealing with eczema. Her baby soft skin started to become a little drier and rougher. Tiny bumps covering her arms and legs. The feel of her skin was no longer smooth. Her skin felt like she constantly had goosebumps. On certain areas of her body, she would complain about itchiness, which would lead to red, dry, flaky patches. Those tiny bumps and her eczema were two different skin issues, but we weren’t sure why she was getting them. She didn’t seem to have any obvious allergic reactions to foods or environmental allergens. For years we weren’t sure what was the trigger for her eczema and hoped that perhaps it was a common childhood issue that she would soon grow out of. We were wrong!
Not just baby eczema
Catherine didn’t grow out of the baby eczema phase. Instead, her eczema continued and she developed reactions to what seemed like environmental allergens. In the spring when she turned 4 years old she started complaining of itchy eyes, stuffy nose, and itchiness all over her body. Her eczema also worsened during this period. She’s now 8 years old and much more aware of how her body reacts to her environment and to the foods she eats. We finally decided that it was time for us to find out what she was allergic to. Her pediatrician agreed that knowledge of her allergies may also help control her eczema. There was a high likelihood that her allergies and eczema were connected. In the past, she was not a very good patient for blood draws, so we avoided it whenever possible. However, now that she’s older, we thought she could handle it. I also felt that she could handle the allergy prick test. One motivating factor was that she really wanted to know the source of her allergies.
Allergy RAST test
We felt excited when we arrived at the allergist’s office. The thought of getting to the bottom of her allergies and eczema seemed so close! After talking to us about the possible allergens to test, the doctor and I decided that we should test for all of the common allergens, particularly environmental and food allergens. After the first round of tests, it was difficult to convince her to continue with the remaining tests. The test made her itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, her desire to know the source of her allergies helped get her through the additional tests. Finally, through tears and several skin prick-tests later, we had test results.
The start of a new chapter
The results showed that she was highly allergic to pollen from several sources, pet dander, and possibly nuts, tree nuts, and soy. It was a relief to finally know the allergens that have been causing her so much discomfort. She was prescribed a couple allergy medications to take daily. We were also told that the allergy medication should help her eczema too. Knowledge is power, so we are now armed with the knowledge to treat Catherine’s allergies and ultimately her eczema.
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?