Mum’s horror as toddler’s eczema so bad he would wake up in blood stained sheets
A desperate mum has described her horror when her little boy’s eczema got so bad he would wake up in blood stained sheets.
Rebecca Hughes, 32, from Bristol, first noticed that her 16-week-old son Leo’s skin was agitated on his cheek when the area turned red and dry in June.
His mum tried to soothe him by applying healing creams and putting scratch mitts on his hands before bed, but nothing worked.
Rebecca, who works as a compliance administrator, would find blood covering Leo’s bedsheets most mornings, as well as fresh cuts on his face from where he had fidgeted and irritated his skin.
She was unable to take her son to the see the doctor due to lockdown and discussions with her GP over the phone were fruitless, after the first-time-mum says they misdiagnosed Leo with impetigo and teething rash.
The mum, who lives with Leo’s father Ashley Shakespeare, 34, also says they recommended she use a medication that is classed as “hydrogen peroxide” to treat her son’s skin.
Hydrogen peroxide is classed as a non-chlorine bleach and is often used to disinfect tools, bleach hair and clean surfaces.
“He would be in his room in his cot but would wake every few hours having scratched his face either with his hands or by rubbing on the bedsheet,” the mum said.
“I felt useless, as he was clearly uncomfortable and could not understand why we were plastering him in creams all the time, with the majority being no use.
“I felt so frustrated and upset for him, and frustrated that we had no diagnosis.
“I suspected it was eczema but without guidance from the health visitor or GP, I looked for answers myself using the internet.
“I felt abandoned as a first-time mum and felt I had to do everything on my own with no help from health professionals.
“Ashley felt the same concerns as me, deeply frustrated and concerned for Leo’s wellbeing.
“We were offered hydrogen peroxide cream, which concerned me as it was such a strong medication for delicate skin but I followed the prescribed instructions religiously to try and minimise any adverse effects.”
By August 2020, Rebecca was desperate for help and so turned to social media for advice from other mums who recommended a new cream.
She said: “I had reached the end of my tether and, not knowing any mums in my area, I posted on Mum Tribe on Facebook and several other mums were immediately helpful and recommended a cream called Epaderm.”
The cream, which costs around £3, was developed by dermatologists to treat dry skin, eczema and psoriasis, and is suitable for all ages.
Although Leo’s eczema was never formally diagnosed, within two weeks of using the cream his condition had improved “significantly” and a month later the rash had disappeared completely.
Rebecca said: “I apply it after most nappy changes as part of the routine, predominantly on his face.
“After baths I use Epaderm in the water, then re-apply the lotion all over his body once he is dry.
“Overall, his skin has greatly improved and the eczema only reappears when he is under the weather or teething.
“His skin has never gone back to being sore, inflamed and broken, and I haven’t seen a bloodstained bedsheet in months.
“It makes me happy to know there is something that works quickly and is easy to apply.
“To other parents out there and people living with eczema, I would say please keep trying and looking for help – do not accept diagnoses if you don’t agree with them.”