An inhaler and a patch of eczema holding hands while looking at each other discontentedly.

Eczema's Most Popular Sister: Asthma

Asthma! Asthma! Asthma! (In my spoiled Jan Brady Bunch voice taunting Marcia!). As a patient with asthma, I will never downplay the seriousness and life or death occurrences that I’ve had with this disease since 7 years old.  Asthma always won in comparison to eczema and emergency doctor calls or ambulance rides, but little did I know that eczema will win for the long run fight of my life.

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The allergic trifecta: Allergies, eczema, and asthma

These two diseases along with severe allergies are all the “golden trifecta” from a result of a hypersensitive immune system that is crying out for help. What’s happening internally is simply showing themselves in different areas of the body and forms externally, but they are all very much so relatives. When one “child” is under control the second one is screaming out, while the third child just spilled the milk in the kitchen as you finally put the first child to sleep. That is what it’s like having all three allergic problems and doctors have always told my parents and I that they are all the same disease but different forms caused by inflammation.

Diagnosed with asthma as a kid

So back to the one disease that is widely known, understood, and rightfully appreciated as a life-threatening disease: asthma. Asthma has always taken priority because it is obviously a disease that can kill you instantly if not under control. Once I was officially diagnosed with asthma at 7 years old, I was instantly given endless resources and information for me and my parents to attend sessions at Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia and how to make my quality of living better at home to decrease dust and more information for better lung health. I cherished a booklet I received at a young age that was in the form of a coloring book for a child to understand and learn.

Confidence in asthma treatment

Even when I had ambulance worthy events with asthma and required to stay in the hospital for days or weeks at a time, I had full confidence that the doctor was competent and going to help me breathe better. Each machine treatment or asthma pump also gave me that confidence. As an adult knowing the seamless undertaking for my asthma to get better as a child makes me want to say, “Asthma! Asthma! Asthma!”  as I think about eczema and the circus of uncertainty that always produced when trying to figure out my eczema problems with the healthcare system.

An endless eczema treatment cycle

My confidence was in a tube of steroid cream that never worked long term for me as a child, plus my parents never wanted me to use them long term. This caused me to have to go back and forth to the dermatologist just to get the same answers and cycle of skin test, blood work and new cream with a prayer. That was it. My parents were very into natural living for me since a baby and that never worked completely.

Using topical steroids for eczema

Finally, during adolescence, the steroid cream given became my “savior” or sure antidote. It worked and kept working and if I needed higher doses those worked too! A young teenage kid or even a busy adult is never going to question what’s healing their grief if there is no warning or cause for alarm from their trusted doctors of years.

Comparing eczema to asthma

That is all a conversation for another article, but having asthma as a “sister” to my severe eczema I see the differences loud and clear. I am extremely grateful and happy to no longer have issues with asthma since a teen, but I do wonder if I was given the same care as I was for asthma, recognizing its seriousness by all professionals if I could have avoided a lot of pain that I can point back to my eczema throughout my life. In my opinion, eczema is equally as life-altering as asthma and I believe it is also life-threatening. If I didn’t have the parents that I have I very easily could have died from eczema, just like asthma. The difference is that it would have been a very slow painful death.

Eczema should be taken seriously

Eczema is a gateway to bigger problems and a warning sign of negative health. You are more susceptible to some of the biggest killers like cancer or suicide. Of course, these are not definite occurrences to happen and that statement can be said for many diseases, but the studies are out there of eczema’s sad outcomes and results, along with the simple common knowledge of how every aspect of health universally works and its risk factors.

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

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