Was My Body Was Trying to Tell Me Something?
It's been a difficult year for all, what with the pandemic and having to lockdown. At times it almost felt apocalyptic. Like the world had begun a new dark chapter. That's probably just hyperbole on my part because I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment and everything feels ten times worse. At times I actually thought I was going crazy. Okay, it wasn't as bad as living through the Two World Wars. I imagine. But it wasn't the happiest period of my life either. And still isn't as I'm currently holed up in my apartment again on 'lockdown 2' - revenge of the COVID!
My skin started to change
Towards the end of March, I noticed my skin started behaving differently. Ordinarily, as any AD sufferer will tell you, the skin is typically dry and flaky - sometimes red and weepy with open cuts in the joints of the body. However, my skin started to really change. I developed big round lesions on my legs, arms, and body. Not only that...when I itched, instead of the skin going very white with dryness and a little redness, as it usually does, it was just tearing open.
Sweaty scratchy nights
I was also experiencing extreme sweating, especially during the night. I'd wake up scratching my drenched arms, legs, and neck. It was awful. Fortunately, I have a nice Dyson fan that I could turn on to get quick relief.
Some other odd symptoms
Along with all my AD symptoms I was also feeling extreme fatigue and what felt like hot flushes. I was sure I had a temperature, however, I was checking this periodically, but the reading on my digital thermometer was reading normal. My breathing had become a problem. My chest felt extremely congested and I was starting to panic. I was sure my body was trying to tell me something. Did I have COVID?
Fancy a photo, doctor?
I called my doctor and was told not to come into the surgery. Instead, I was booked in for a telephone appointment. After explaining all my concerns, my GP increased my steroid intake to control my asthma and I offered to email her photos of my skin as I was sure, if I didn't jump on this promptly I might need hospital treatment. After seeing my photos, my doctor wrote me out a prescription for some Betnovate ointment - a powerful steroid. She advised me to self-isolate for ten days and to send in more photos of my skin after seven days.
I cannot be sure whether I had the Coronavirus or not but I do remember feeling absolutely awful in those early days of the pandemic. On reflection, I'm pleased I listened to what my body was trying to tell me. I acted fast and was pleased my doctor listened to my concerns. For me, going to see the doctor is always a last resort. I know I was bad because I needed steroid treatment for both asthma and eczema. where possible, I invariably avoid steroid use because I personally feel it does not get to the root cause of the problem, certainly where AD is concerned. I do not think twice about using it in emergency cases, however.
Thankfully, I got better and my skin returned to its normal dry, flaky, leathery self.
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?