'Extremely difficult': Mum shares daughter's battle with eczema to help others

Photos: Alicia Preston
Photos: Alicia Preston 

Alicia Preston knows just how well eczema can affect a child's life, after her daughter Poppy was diagnosed with the debilitating skin condition at 11-weeks-old.

The infant saw doctors and paediatricians but it wasn't until she saw an immunologist and dermatologist that she saw results and was able to come up with a solution to prevent future flare ups.

"Lots of different factors trigger Poppy's flare-ups," Ms Preston tells Essential Baby. "However, her main trigger would be her dust mite allergy."

A bad flare up for Poppy would mean cracked skin and bleeding which could lead to the area getting infected, to combat this they use a combination of creams and cortisones.

"Bleach baths and wet wraps really help with a bad flare and getting on top of the eczema quickly helps as well," Ms Preston says.

A study conducted by The Eczema Association of Australasia (EAA) has found that 60 per cent of eczema suffers are diagnosed before aged two.  

The survey was conducted over 25 years and involved more than 4,000 people showed 52 per cent of diagnoses came when the child was only zero – six-months-old, 11 per cent at seven – 12 months and  three per cent at 13 – 24 months.

Out of those whom participated, 37 per cent found weather is a major trigger, which is why Eczema Awareness Month is held in May as the seasons can have a huge impact on sufferers, with only six per cent of people surveyed say their condition is controllable. 

Poppy Preston is now four years old

Poppy Preston is now four years old Photo: Alicia Preston

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Ms Preston says she washes Poppy's sheets washed every two-three days and vacuums her room every day. "Washing her clothes a certain way to kill the dust mite are all ways to help," she explains.

Poppy just turned four, and whilst her condition is mainly under control, she does have her good days and bad days.

"We have found ways to deal with her eczema now, after four years I feel more confident in dealing with the bad flare ups," Ms Preston says, adding that now that Poppy is a bit older, she understands her skin more which helps. 

Poppy Preston now has the condition under control

Poppy Preston now has the condition under control. Photo: Alicia Preston

Ms Preston admits that watching your child deal with eczema and not being able to take it away is extremely difficult and says she urges parents to ask for a for a referral to have a good eczema treatment plan of their child is suffering.

 "My hope is someday she will outgrow eczema," she says.

EAA President Cheryl Talent said parents need to know they are not alone if their baby or young child suffers from eczema. 

"Parents have enough on their minds when raising a child, so adding eczema into the equation makes life even more challenging," she said. "The EAA's main purpose is to highlight that these parents aren't alone, and support is available."

The EAA will also be hosting a free live Q&A webinar on Thursday 21 May, 1pm - 2pm (AEST) for eczema sufferers and their families to ask healthcare professionals pressing questions, as part of Eczema Awareness Month.