Healing Solutions for Your Child and Eczema

Sarah's skin felt like ants were crawling all over it. Welts developed behind her knees and on her elbows. Sometimes the itchiness was so debilitating that Sarah had to come home from preschool. The welts occasionally filled with puss and burst when Sarah raked her nails over them. Sarah's mother, Cynthia, did her best to soothe the pain, but the rash continued to spread.

What is eczema?

Eczema is a general term for five different “itchy rashes”: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Often treated with steroids, cortisone or whatever new topical treatment is on the market, most doctors fail to address the eczema's cause: food allergies. While food allergies are not the definitive cause of eczema, the Food Allergy Center states that “Eczema...is a food allergy until proven otherwise.”

Mixed Messages from Modern Medicine

Talk Eczema, an educational website about eczema, believes “there is no cure for eczema.” The best course of action is to follow a “good skin routine” that they characterize as the usage of “emollients” and “prescribed medication.” Only then can “the effects of eczema...be managed and controlled.” Yet, in the same article, they mention that food allergies can cause eczema. Why would Talk Eczema promote medication and emollients at all if through mere diet modification we could completely eliminate the problem?

A note from Dr. Gislason

Dr. Gislason, a well-regarded doctor and food allergy specialist believes that many medical doctors “do not want people to solve health problems on their own. They want people to depend on MDs and buy drugs.” Think about this the next time you purchase yet another expensive tube of topical medication. Total relief could be right around the corner when you ask the right questions.

Cynthia's Resolution

Sarah was so embarrassed about her itchy rash that one day she refused to go to school. Cynthia decided to take action. She took Sarah to a food allergy specialist and completed an allergy blood test. When the results returned, Cynthia was amazed to find that Sarah was allergic to dairy and eggs. Once those foods had been removed from Sarah's diet for 2 months, the eczema vanished. Now Sarah is a totally different little girl. She is more outgoing in preschool and recently asked to take swimming lessons- something she would have been too embarrassed to do before the eczema disappeared. 

Asthma and Allergies: Not Just Peanuts and Bee Stings

To kick off June's blog entries, let's start with some food allergy basics:

• Allergies aren't just immediate reactions to things like peanuts and bee stings.

• There are two main food allergy distinctions- IgE, and non IgE (IgA and IgG).

• The most common food allergies are IgA and IgG.

• Food allergies are generally acquired due to exposure, not genetics.

The table below is extremely helpful in understanding food allergy basics: 

IgE

Non-IgE (IgA and IgG)

Fast response (few minutes)

Slower response (2 hours-72 hours), sometimes take years for symptoms to manifest

Strong response

Weaker response

Similar physiological response in most people

Varied physiological response in most people

“fixed”- do not change during our lifetime

Can evolve at any age

Analogous to immune system “blow-torch”: instant, acute, powerful

Analogous to immune system “sand paper”: delayed, slowly damaging

Immune system response to a protein found in digestive system that is perceived as foreign object

Immune system response to a protein found in digestive system that is perceived as foreign object

Asthma attacks can be terrifying: hives, rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea followed by coughing and wheezing. If not caught quickly, the throat may swell and cut off the airway (anaphylaxis). We often associate these acute reactions with instant triggers such as peanuts or bee stings. However, there are two different kinds of asthma: 1) immediate asthma and 2) delayed, or chronic, asthma. Immediate asthma is often associated with IgE allergic reactions, and chronic asthma is associated with non-IgE allergies. It can be relatively simple to deduce a trigger for an immediate and acute asthmatic reaction. But what should we do about chronic asthma?

3 Ways to Deal with Chronic Asthma:

  1. Remove the cause: The best choice for eradicating chronic asthma completely. The comprehensive ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) panel is a blood test which examines our bodies’ reaction to 96 of the most common food allergens. Once we remove the offending substance from our diets, improvement is swift and drastic.
  2. Treat the symptoms: Anti-inflammatory medications, bronchodilators, inhalers and nebulizers are all helpful in combating asthma symptoms. While these pharmaceuticals ameliorate discomfort, they do not treat the cause. They can also cause many detrimental side effects such as facial swelling, blistered or peeling skin, severe headaches, insomnia, and vomiting.
  3. Alter the host: Many medical doctors recommend allergy shots (immunotherapy). Repeated exposure of small doses of the allergen trains the immune system to not react. Many people report success with this method. However, there are potential side effects when we drastically alter our own immune system.