Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Have You Tried This, Have You Tried That

I know people are trying to be helpful but it becomes tiresome to keep reiterating myself to various different people. That was also the idea behind creating this blog so that I could just let people read for themselves about my condition.

My favourite is when random strangers ask you if you've tried [insert name of over the counter medicines] and when you sigh and say yes the smug look they beheld vanishes. Often these same people will be the ones who go "I know what that is, it's eczema" and you're like "yes, well done! Have a pat on the back, matey!" As I say, I know they're just trying to be helpful but it really isn't helpful for me. It's comparable to telling a person missing a limb that they're missing said limb. 10/10 for observation ;)

From this, I thought I'd talk about some of the conditions I do have and how they can sometimes conflict one another.

OK, so as the name of the blog suggests, I suffer from eczema. But not just one type, oh no, that would just be too simple for my body. No. I have a whole host of dermatitis conditions. I suffer from atopic eczema which as it suggests means I in turn suffer from atopy in general. Everything from hay fever to asthma to rhinitis comes under this heading.

I also have urticaria which manifests itself when heat is involved. This means exercise is usually out of the question, as well as being too hot generally whereby that meaning having too many layers of clothing on, or even on a summers day, I will, and do, suffer. It means for me that hot countries are completely out of the question. I went to Spain with my Mother one July and spent the whole time in sheer agony, covered in hives and not being able to get cool. It was a nightmare. Similarly, going to the gym and even walking up steep hill in Lincoln is somewhat of a task for me, whether it's a winter or summer's day because the heat will get me.

Allergies are another one of my pitfalls. I am severely allergic to dust mites. So much in fact that a proper reading couldn't be given because it was so high. This means that I find even household cleaning a chore and was even given a certificate by my dermatologist to say that I'm not allowed to do any household cleaning for 1 year. Jealous much? My asthma worsens and I come out in a rash, which then turns into eczema because I scratch it so much. It has also meant that I have had to reassess my career choice. My plan was to become a textile conservator, where I would clean and prevent long term damage to historical objects... Yes. You can see where this is going...

Cats, dogs and in fact any fur bearing animals are also out of bounds with my allergies. Annoyingly enough, I grew up with cats and looking back I did have a constant runny nose but that was all. Now, if I were to go to my Mum's house I would end up in A&E with an all-over body rash, an asthma attack and swollen eyes. It usually weeps too. Yum.

Patch testing also revealed an allergy to chromate but I don't appear to have had any problems with sitting on leather couches or wearing a leather jacket so I'm a bit skeptical. But it would make sense in terms of being a green dye within textiles, as I suffered A LOT when making a dark green dress for my Foundation Art year. I'm bloody proud of my efforts though!

Modelled by my lovely friend

Seborrheic dermatitis is another one. A lovely flakey one. And more recently I've developed hand eczema also known as dyshidrotic eczema. Apart from the soles of my feet, there is not one place that hasn't been affected by eczema. I also have Neurodermatitis in which I scratch all the time just because it has become a habit.

And as you can see from some of these conflicting conditions, it can make it hard to treat. I have found that steroid creams and slathering white soft paraffin all over is my best concoction to date. It REALLY helps me. Also sleep helps me too oddly enough. Even if it's just napping.

I hope this gives you all some more insight into some of what I go through. I could talk about it all day so I'll be sure to post about my coping mechanisms at a later date :)


  1. Its so nice to meet you! Just saw your Twitter post and it brought me here. I have heat urticaria too, which is aggravated by my food and environmental allergies.

    I know how it is...I absolutely despise summers and Fall is my favorite season, although the ragweed is tough to deal with! Def stop by my blog, too when you have the time! www.mayashappyplace.com

    All the best~

  2. Bless you! I suffer from some you have mentioned too! Asthma, hayfever, eczema, allergies to this that and that other! Grrrr, had it from birth.

    Thanks for sharing and I'm glad at the the soft paraffin is providing some relief.

    Not to totally ignore what the core of your post is about and blab about XY & Z, BUT I will just share that taking a total of 4 x tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in the run up to pollen season has seen me for the first time in 20 years not taking antihistamines! Had to share!

    Good luck and big hugs.

    1. Aye, none of it is fun :( and haha, thanks :D that does sound good. I'll see if I can get hold of some and see what happens. Funnily my hay fever seems to have taken more of a back seat in recent years... or I probably just don't notice it as much because of the more prominent dust and cat allergies which are currently taking over my life.xx

  3. It must be too much to handle all of these skin problems and your asthma all at once. But I am happy to hear that despite all the difficulties your illnesses have given you, you can still find something positive from it all. Yup, getting a certificate that authorizes you to skip doing household chores totally makes me jealous! Haha! Anyway, I'm happy to hear that you've found some things that helped you cope with your condition. Leora Yang

    1. Thank you for your comment Leora :) You just have to make the most out of what you've been dealt with and try to alter your perceptions on life. I actually need to go and see about getting that certificate renewed soon, haha!

      Have a good day :) x

  4. Hi Jenny,
    Came across your blog when I googledIimmunosuppront. My daughter is eight n her eczema is out of control. The dermatologist has prescribed immunosuppront cream. Just wanted to ask how did you find out you have dust mite allergy, did your doc made you take a test. Doc here do not seem to want to do it.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Rosy,

      That's odd that they haven't even looked into that yet. Allergy testing was one of the first things they made me do, both via blood tests and patch testing. I'd try to push it further if I were you as the cream is just suppressing the symptoms and isn't curing the problem.