About a year ago, Looly started getting scaly red patches in the creases of her elbows, on her legs, and behind her knees. They were round and itchy with well-defined borders. We took her to the pediatrician who diagnosed eczema. It was a welcome relief as I'd been suspecting ringworm or a flesh-eating virus. Her spots flare from time to time - usually worse in cold, dry winter, but we seem to be able to control them fairly well with frequent applications of Aquaphor and Vaseline.
Roo, as usual, is another story. As an infant, his perfect milky baby skin was tainted by crusty pink patches in the creases of his elbows. Over his first winter, his legs were much dryer and scabbier than Bean's no matter how much we moisturized. His skin improved that summer but the beast came back with a vengeance in the fall and hasn't left since. Today, he has perpetual red flaky patches of skin all over his legs, as well as full blown crackly, bloody welts that plague the creases behind his knees. His stomach and back are covered in a bumpy, spotty, rash that looks a lot like prickly heat but stays whether he's dry or wet, hot or cold. He's constantly pulling at his shirts and pants, trying to get a good scratch. We try to keep him covered because when he does get a hand in, he typically breaks the skin with his zealous scratching. Not pretty. We slather him in Vaseline a few times a day and use a steroid creme to manage the worst of it. Rest assured no one wants Roo's hand-me-down clothing. Most of the time he looks like a miniature auto mechanic.
To date Bean is clear but I don't think we're out of the woods since Looly's first symptoms didn't appear until she was closer to three. Time will tell.
Then this winter, I discovered a couple of patchy spots on my hip and recalled a conversation I had with a massage therapist two years earlier when I was pregnant with the twins. She noiced them and thought it looked like eczema. I told her I don't have eczema and chalked it up to yet another malady of pregnancy. Hmmm...
A few days ago I ran into the mother of a fellow allergy- and eczema-sufferer, at Whole Foods (where else?). She suggested that flaxseed has been instrumental in clearing up her now 6-year-old son's eczema. So what the hay, we're giving it a whirl. I'm throwing ground flaxseed into pasta, yogurt, sauces, cereal, smoothies, veggies, and so far, surprisingly, no complaints. I'm dousing cooked meat and veggies in flaxseed oil and even stirred some into ketchup. Keep in mind you can't cook with flaxseed oil because it has an extremely low smoke point, but you can add it once food is cooked or reheated. My kids are so used to getting everything drenched in oil or margarine, they haven't complained about this either.
As usual, I am wary of the miracle cure for anything allergy-related but figure it can't hurt. We'll see how it goes and I'll report back in a few weeks. I realize now that I should have taken pictures for a before and after comparison. Perhaps I'll do that tonight for some concrete evidence. In the mean time, if anyone else has any flaxseed success (or horror) stories to share, I'd love to hear them!