SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - October is National Eczema Awareness month. Eczema, medically known as Atopic Dermatitis, is an itchy red rash that can appear all over the body. Eczema can appear on the elbows or behind the knees, for newborns it often appears on the face. There is no cure for this skin ailment and the severity varies from person to person.
A Shreveport mother says this common medical condition caused her young son to go from scratching to biting and now bleeding. If you look closely at two year old Karsyn Lebum's hands and knees, you can still see subtle signs of this skin issue that causes him a great deal of discomfort. Myesha Newton, Karsyn's mother, says watching her son scratch to the point of bleeding is painful to endure.
"It's basically covered all of his body except for his face, he scratches all night like right now his hands are so scratched that they bleed,"says Newton. "Every night is miserable because he is scratching all night. He'll just wake up in the middle of the night scratching and will want you to scratch his back or he'll scratch his knee's until they bleed, he does just non stop scratching."
Karsyn was originally given two medications, Elidel and Protopic creams. While they seemed to work for him, both medications came with black box labels. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Elidel and Protopic creams come with a risk of cancer, a risk Myesha was just not willing to take.
Now,the mother is looking for answers on how to improve your child's condition. While each case of Eczema is different in each child, Dr. Sami Bahna, Chief of Allergy and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, says there are simple steps you can take to improve the condition over time. "In Eczema the skin is different from normal skin, it does not keep hydration and therefore we have to give baths everyday, once or twice depending on the severity of the condition," says Dr. Bahna.
The doctor also says it is important to not only use the medications on your child but to seal them with a moisturizer. He doesn't suggest using lotions since they will not absorb into the skin very well. According to the National Eczema Association, they suggest Eczema patients: wear cotton or soft fabrics, avoid activities that make you sweat, keep your fingernails short to avoid scratching the skin and take lukewarm baths.