My eczema arsenal

I welcomed 2014 first by splitting the crotch seam of my pre-pregnancy jeans when I tried to sit down (1st busted jeans of the new year.  Last year I had a seam split on my jeans when I was shopping in Ikea. I wonder what other excitements await me in the months to come?!) I also welcomed the year with a raging, bumpy, splotchy eczema breakout on my hands.  Why did this happen, especially after I raved about my plethora of creams and bleach solutions? Apparently you have to actually use them in order to see results, and since bleaching my hands requires me to sit perfectly still for 10 minutes, I simply stopped doing it. I also started to notice a terrifyingly fast spread of eczema on my legs. Spot treating with Triamcinolone worked but required enormous amounts of cream.  This time around I am trying to be more consistent in my regimen, and I learned a few things.

My weapons.  Not pictured is a giant bottle of hydroxysine syrup.
My weapons. Not pictured is a giant bottle of hydroxysine syrup.

Thinking outside the antibiotics box
Instead of immediately using an oral antibiotic to treat the staph on my hands, I used a bleach bath and Mupuricin regimen. After the bleach soak for 10 minutes (in front of the television) I would apply Mupuricin, then 10 minutes later a light coat of steriod, followed by Vaseline and then I put on cotton gloves for at least 30 minutes to let everything soak in. I also started carrying little emergency packets of Bacitracin ointment in my purse. It would probably be faster to just take the antibiotics, but the bleach baths are effective.  I also discovered that I can achieve a similar effect if I sit in a hot tub for ten minutes, so…

Taking both a natural and medicated approach
The eczema on my legs didn’t appear to be infected, just itchy.  I started keeping a little bottle of light olive oil and avocado oil in the bathroom.  After a shower, while still slightly damp I put the oil on my legs and arms.  All of the itchiness on my legs has disappeared and without needing any steroids.  I also invested in an overpriced Venus razor instead of my bargain basement disposable razors, eliminating skin irritation (I soaked off all of the gooey moisturizing stuff on the razor to avoid irritating my skin). For really sudden hand flare ups I find relief with ice packs wrapped in towels along with a small dose of hydroxysine syrup (2.5 ml).

The oral route
I continued to take a daily Zyrtec and 2000 IU of vitamin D, and I also got a locking pill case for my purse, since I realized that I forget to take my pills at least 3 times a week.  In addition, I added vitamin B-1 and a fish oil capsure.

Lifestyle changes
I absolutely hate lifestyle changes.  Why can’t I still live like I did when I was 21 years old? I could stay out all night dancing, drink cheap alcohol, and then wake up and go to work on a breakfast of coffee, cocktail olives, and youthful optimism. The holidays were rough on my hands for a number of reasons: too much celebrating meant too little sleep and too many sweets, I did more dish washing than normal, and the overall holiday stress along with some very cold and dry weather was a perfect storm for skin irritation.

This flare up isn’t completely under control yet, but it is slowly getting better. Hopefully some of these tips can help other sufferers out there!

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