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Jackie Little: Eczema – a cautionary tale

Eczema – a cautionary tale

by Jackie Little

Oh marvellous

At The age of 44, my body has decided that it suffers from Eczema. No warning, no preliminary signals, just a sudden rabid onset of the horrible, tormenting skin affliction for no apparent reason.


It clocked in nicely with the advent of 2010. Christmas (wonderful) just over, kids off on the annual camping trip with Dad, myself settling back into work routine. All seemed well.

Then: a vague itching on my inner elbows; found myself scratching at idle moments; worse in the sudden new heat. Slowly at first it crept along my forearms, one day a nasty livid patch appeared on my calf, then another, then another. Trouble was brewing. A trouble called Eczema.

Now I am a bit of a smarty pants when it comes to this condition so I did not panic. My middle son suffered terribly from Eczema for the first five years of his life and we had called in every expert.

So safe in my lofty knowledge I discounted all the failed “homeopathic” remedies” Sulphur pills, pints of chamomile tea disguised in his bottle, dandelion infusions, grass shavings in the bath etc since they had achieved sweet Fanny Adam.

In the end only “conventional” medicine in the form of topical creams, hydrocortisones emollients and fragrance free moisturisers , daily baths with loads of grease in them and wet bandages over yet more grease at night gave the poor soul any alleviation.

He grew out of it, Mercy Be.. Now. several years later, it seems I have grown into it.

Having a horror of subjecting myself to the docs (or the dentist or anyone else who makes me feel self conscious for that matter) I hyed me to the pharmacist and bought a fine collection of aforesaid unguents as well as some anti histamines to stave off the tormenting prickly itching and disfiguring scarlet blotches and waited confidently for it to bugger off.

Did not happen.

After about three weeks, the pestilence had spread ALL over my arms, ALL over my legs and was beginning to stab its evil hot little needles into my torso and back (though on second thoughts, the back is part of the torso , yes? mo?)

It was time to submit to scary doctor examination, knowing I would be chastised for being – well a “Chump” as he eventually termed it - for letting things get so out of hand (body surely ? Hands were about the only part of me unaffected)

I must digress here and point out that my GP is a highly professional, very kindly, gentle and understanding soul, but I always feel as if have an appointment with Mengele when in a health professional’s waiting room. Neuroticism a cause of Eczema? Surely not.

The upshot is that I now look like a leper, have to have steroid treatment for the widespread inflammation and antibiotics for the infection I caused by the literally irresistible scratching of my tormented flesh.

The antibiotics have to be taken FOUR times a day ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! Who has an empty stomach four times a day?. Maybe my innate suspicions of these doctor types are not so mad after all – is he actually grooming me for a Bulimia trial?

Anyway the bottom line folks is, don’t put it off. Not if you want to take your kids to the pool at the weekend and find people scarrpering for dear life to save their families from what appears to be the Black Death. Go and see the docs. They know best.

PS. Of course that last paragraph was a joke. I would not expose myself in such a condition to Mother Theresa, herself.


Jackie Little is a Scoop staff reporter

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