Extremely Severe Eczema

My 8 month old nephew has eczema so severely, that he is bleeding and pussing on his entire body. His entire first layer of skin has worn away in atches all over his body that range from 6-12 inches across. He’s seen 4 specialists, including the Pediatric Dermatologist from John’s Hopkins hospital in Maryland, one of the most well known and highly respected hospitals in the country, even the world. Does anyone have eczema this severe? He’s tried every cream under the sun… and nothing has even lessened the pain. What can we do to treat such a debilitating problem?

so sorry to hear of your nephew’s severe eczema. just wanted to give you my support. it is so great that you are advocating for him. you are a good aunt.
have any of the doctors given him an antihistimane? i believe this was prescribed for my daughter. the antihistamine stopped the urge to itch so that the skin could start healing. there is also the advantage that it may make him sleepy, and he and mom and dad can get some rest at night. i would try to put on cotton mittens or socks on his hands at night to minimize any damage from itching. although at 8 months old he will likely not go for that. worth a try, though. it’s important to keep the nails trimmed short.
the next best thing is to use dye free and fragrance free laundry detergent for everyone in the house. blankets, clothing, everything. his skin is so fragile, do not rub anything on it. just pat very gently. he only needs a tiny amount of soap, like cetaphil. we also use cetaphil lotion. also, we avoid synthetic clothing material, we stick to cotton, linen, etc. and no wool or itchy clothing for the baby or anyone who will hold him.
lastly, try to keep him from getting too hot and sweaty.
wishing you the best…
maya’s mom

i also thought of one other thing. have any of the doctors prescribed antibiotics for the infection?
prayers are with you…
maya’s mom

Hi, I’m very sorry to hear of your nephew’s condition; I’ve never heard of such a severe case. Johns Hopkins is indeed a well respected hospital. I can’t believe they couldn’t help him.

This just relates to me but perhaps it might help you or someone else.

I started using a steroid cream on my palms when I first got my eczema but then by chance I tried applying Mary Kay’s Extra Emollient Night Cream…it works great to relieve itching (and minor burns BTW) and at night I rub it all over my hands before putting on cotton gloves. My skin is extremely dry (and sensitive) so in the morning my hands are soft but one hand wash and it’s back to the lotions.

Aveeno works good as well as Eucerin lotions for the body and hands. I love to take a bath in Aveeno’s soothing bath treatment with colloidal oatmeal skin protectant (fragrance free). When I use it I don’t have to apply lotion all over my body and no itching…it doesn’t help the eczema on my hands or feet though…

Some people use tea tree oil but I was told by my doctor that tea tree oil probably caused my eczema. I did some research and found out that eczema is a “rare” side effect of tea tree oil.

Guess I’m not much help…sorry. The only thing that heals my eczema is taking Prednisone (for other conditions). I won’t take it all the time and my doctor doesn’t want me to.

Seems like there’s no cure for this horrible disease. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours…be well.

You don’t live across from Cora by any chance? I just think it’s ironic that I know a woman who has a duaghter with eczema and her name happens to be Maya. It’s a long shot, but … just curious! She’s my sister-in-law.
mayasmom wrote:

Hi guys!
Have just found your forum on the net, and would like to add one or two things. I’ve nursed 2 people over the past few years with eczema who have become sensitized to Tea Tree Oil, it can be a very potent substance so if used care really does have to be taken on the dilution, the more additives added to lotions and potions the higher the risk of sensitizing some one with eczema.
Littlesprouts when you say that your nephew has tried every cream under the sun does that include the topical immunosuppressants (protopic, elidel) I have seen some very positive results with both.
I totally agree about the anti-biotics, whenever I’ve come up against a case of really stubborn eczema, Staphylococcus aureus isn’t far away. ensure that your family Dr has taken a swab so that the right anti biotics are prescribed, some of the anti septic bath oils may help, but again becareful with the dilutions.
Really hope that I’ve been able to add something.

Davida, I don’t know about protopic, but I know Elidel has been pulled off the market due to risks of skin cancer. My son had eczema really bad when he was 6 months old, and he was prescribed Elidel and it healed it after a month or so. He also could have outgrownthe eczema, because he only used Elidel for three months to treat certain spots, then we stopped once it was recalled. Luckily, he hasn’t had any outbreaks since then, and he’s three now.

I have read about the cancer risk with these creams, but here in the UK for the moment they are still available.
Basically Protopic is very similar to Elidel and I would think that if the link between Elidel and cancer (both skin and lyphoma) is proven then I think the risk would be very similar. The data I have read seems to be mainly based on animal studies, although I think there has been 10 or more reported cases within humans.
For a long time I would not prescribe either of these creams because I wasn’t reassured about the long term effects. But having been faced with some very resistent cases of eczema I have started to prescribe these, with very strong warnings about the cancer risk and the need for very high factor sunblock irrespective of skin colouring.
I think the way you used it in a very short burst would seem the logical and sensible thing to do.
Am happy to hear that your little one is eczema free!

I have eczema this severe on my ankles and feet and my one thumb. these spots bleed and puss all the time and is so sore to touch. No doctors I have gone to have had any ways to help it besides the steroids. One treatment that did work for a spot I had for 7 years was a two weeks of a moderate dose of steroids (can’t remember which one) and a very strong dose of antibiotics for the same peroid of time. As soon as one area seems to get better, another one flares up. I have started using Burt’s Bee Balm Hand Salve on these spots this past week and so far it is helping greatly. For the itching though, i haven’t found anything that really helps. I also , when i go to work, have been applying generously Bacterin and bandages.

Does sunlight help? I was also perscribed in the past to go to a tanning booth for a few minutes a day to help with eczema. this helps too, if you can stand laying on the heat.

Hello All;

I am new to the forum but have had eczema since I was a baby.
I remember my mother putting cotton gloves on me at bedtime and me struggling to try to rip them off of my hands in the middle of the night.

Just wanted to add another bit of advice. This may sound crazy but you might want to get a dust mite cover for your nephew’s crib. PLEASE just make sure you get a cover that is organic and cotton because many of the other covers are made of materials such as vinyl, latex, plastic, and/or other heat and sweat-generating materials which will make the eczema much worse. I speak from experience on this one.

Many of the non-organic covers have fumes so I stay away. I have organic cotton pillow covers, mattress covers, and box-spring covers. It really does make a difference. I buy mine on ebay only because it is difficult to purchase the organic ones in the local pharmacy.

Also, remove “dust carriers” such as carpet, curtains, and stuffed animals. They have found a link between dust mite allergies and eczema. In the old days they just thought dust mite allergies affected breathing issues such as asthma. If you Google dust mites and eczema you will find many articles about this issue.

I also have asthma, but from my personal experience dust mite covers have been a great tool. I even travel with a mattress cover when I visit family and when I have to sleep in a hotel I sleep in a sleeping bag on top of all the covers --“UGH”!!

Also, sunlight does help. It’s tricky because you can’t get too hot because then you get sweaty and itchy. When my eczema is driving me batty, I sit in the sun at home for no more than an hour. I once saw a dermatologist at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center that had eczema and she said she got light treatments.

THis was just a few years ago. So I don’t know how easy it is to locate a physician that does this. In my experience, it doesn’t appear to be the usual approach to treating eczema. But do ask your doctor ask your doctor about it.

I just found an article a friend of mine did on eczema this year. She is a doctor and a fellow eczema sufferer.

BTW, you are a great aunt to be advocating for your nephew. If you haven’t guessed by now, eczema is a steep learning curve and what works for one does not necessarily work for all.

But since it is hereditary, I say find out what makes the eczema worse ( animal dander, fragrance, certain foods) and better for the parent of your nephew that has eczema. Just thought of this too, is the mother nursing the baby? Might be something she is consuming? ;(

Oh yeah, stress is VERY bad for eczema. Also, dryness. So have your nephew drink lots of water and moisturize the skin several times a day. I find it works for me. Also not to get the indoor temperature too hot.

Good luck and I hope this helps. Eczema runs in my family throughout every generation.

My son is much older, but a new dermatologist we just visited prescribed a stronger steroid ointment. She also suggested taking a bath (instead of showering) 2X a week and using a bath oil that contains cottonseed oil – “Robathol”. Haven’t had a chance to try it yet. We purchased it at the Dr’s office, but you could ask about it at your local pharmacy. Baths are OK if you immediately use an emollient after getting out of the water to seal in the moisture. She also wants us to use straight petroleum jelly on him at night. Gross, but she says it will help.

Robathol works wonderfully too, but it does make the tub very slippery. The dermatologist I went to told me to take long warm showers, not hot, and when my fingers start to get pruny looking, put the oil on and get out. This helped too (can’t take baths, don’t have a tub that holds water, drain doesn’t plug). I also put petroleum jelly on the eczema spots on my face at night and it helps too, but I didn’t find that it helped on the spots on my ankles and feet.

The Burts Bee’s Hand Salve that I mentioned earlier in the post is still working, i no longer have to wrap the spots, and the bleeding and weeping stopped. This really seems to work really well on bad spots that flair up.

Have a Happy Holiday Season!


I’m not here much but when I just read an old post from davida about antibiotics it reminded me about a time when I had an infected tooth. I had to take penicillin for a week before they would extract the tooth and the whole time I was on the penicillin I had no outbreaks of eczema. However, I was horribly sick from the penicillin…couldn’t leave the bathroom.

I have a friend with MRSA and I asked my doctor if I should be checked for it but he said no…I guess I need to get a bit more insistent with him. It also may be that my insurance doesn’t cover it but you’ve all given me something to think about. Thanks!