Thursday, 4 October 2012

Itching to talk about eczema

Ever since a young age I’ve had an urge to scratch, my skin so itchy I literally want to claw it away. The severity of the discomfort has altered throughout my life, as has the areas on my body where it occurs, but I can’t escape it, I have eczema.

I first started getting eczema as a young child, in the creases behind my knees and the creases on the inside of my arms. Areas prone to getting extra hot obviously based on where they are located and my eczema used to flare up whenever the sun came out. I can remember many school lunchtimes sitting on the grass and feeling sad as I felt the familiar tingle and then the urge to scratch scratch scratch. I would scratch so much in fact I’d make my skin bleed and the area would get little bumps on the surface.

Later on I seemed to find my eczema not just in the heat but also when I had lots of dairy products such as eggs and cheese, although thank goodness it was now just on the inside of my arms and not my legs. I should add I have a friend who got it on her face, so I know I don’t have it to the worst extent it could be.

Then as I got older stress played a big part, during some tough times at University I found it appeared round the back of my arm and was incredibly sore rather than simply itchy.

Even though you know with eczema you need to try not to scratch it and you know how sore it gets when you do, you literally cannot stop yourself.

I’ve had various creams over the years and can remember this awful stuff my Mum got when I was little that I had to bathe in – it would go all lumpy in the bath water and smelt awful!

Now bad diet and alcohol seems to be prompting this latest outburst and my arm is getting unbearably itchy. The cream I have doesn’t seem to work, so I think a trip to the doctor is going to have to take place pretty soon. As soon as I get slightly anxious too I start to scratch.

The worst bit is I’ve even started doing it in my sleep. So that when I wake up I have rolled my pyjama sleeve up and had a good old claw at my arm throughout the night!

What is annoying about this skin condition is the fact it usually comes along with asthma and hayfever (I have both of these too), you’re told most people grow out of it after childhood (no such luck) and it varies from person to person so there is no real way of knowing what causes it or how to stop it.

I even found recently watching a health program which tries to combat health issues with diet they looked at a young boy with sever eczema and even hearing his story made me start scraping at my skin.

According to the National Eczema Society in the UK, one in five children and one in twelve adults have eczema.

I think I have atopic eczema from all the descriptions, yet people seem to think you only have it as a child. Just my luck – could have had wrinkle-free skin, no fear or some other beneficial childhood trait. No, I get the skin condition!

If anyone has any tips or things that have worked for them, please do share in the comment box below!

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