Wet Wrapping

Another week, another eczema treatment. Allie’s wrists cracked and bled last week, prompting another call to the allergist for a game plan. The plan:

  • Apply her Protopic prescription 4x a day until the area heals;
  • Apply her steroid cream 2x a day until the area is under control; and
  • Soak her hands in lukewarm water for 20-30 minutes, then immediately apply moisturizers/medicines.

I laughed at him. “She’s 2 years old. I can’t get her to stand still for 2 minutes, let alone 20.”

“Then try wet wrapping the area,” he said. “Look it up on the internet for instructions.”

I’d already heard about wet wrapping. In essence, you take 100% cotton cloth, soak it in lukewarm water, squeeze lightly — until it stops dripping water, then apply it to the area, wrap with dry cloth, and wrap with something to keep it all in place. Some people do it everyday to help with eczema. They even make bodysuits for it. Well, not bodysuits. It’s basically uber tight footie pjs.

So I cut the arms off an old 100% cotton onesie, sat her on the counter, and — after promising her some ice cream — succeeded in wet wrapping her hands and wrists. Like so:

Wet wrapping 101: Always be prepared with bribes.

Wet wrapping 101: Always be prepared with bribes.

My little leper. For the record, that’s the sleeves of a 100% cotton onesie, covered with rolled gauze, which is then covered with elastic self-adhesive sports wrap.

According to one of the many Web sites I’ve looked at regarding eczema, dry skin occurs when the skin lacks moisture or water. So wet wrapping essentially puts moisture right against the skin, allowing it to be absorbed. It was worth a try at least.

And it worked.

When unwrapping, I did one hand/wrist at a time, slathering on our Protopic on the cracked skin and 2.5% hydrocortizone cream on the other parts before topping everything off with lotion, Aquaphor, and her 100% cotton gloves.

The next morning, her hands looked normal. It was amazing.

I also bought a small box of burn pads off Amazon to try overnight on her wrists during a flare-up.

Have any of you tried wet wrapping? Was it successful in helping with eczema?


Eczema Update: Trial & Error

Allergist/Eczema Update:

With the allergist appointment a few weeks in the rear-view mirror, I thought I’d share some of the things we learned:

  1. Two-year-olds do not like to have their backs scratch tested for allergens. They like it even less when they’re told to not itch.
  2. She is not allergic to milk or soy, two things that used to cause big flare-ups. She’s been drinking actual milk for the past 3 weeks and is L-O-V-I-N-G every second of it. We’ve had some flare ups on her legs and hands, but nothing widespread like she used to get. The allergist said she could have outgrown the allergy already. We start trying soy next week.
  3. She’s not allergic to 14 other “common allergens” such as dust mites, olive tree pollen, bee pollen, or cats or dogs.
  4. Allegra causes her to become twitchy, irritated, have weird/scary dreams, and doesn’t help with her itchiness. (Yeah, that was a FUN 3 nights. Gah.)
  5. Zyrtec, which used to do nothing for her, is suddenly amazeballs. Totally helps with her itch and both she and I can tell when her 24-hour dose starts to wear off, because she starts complaining about being itchy. As in, 20 minutes past the 24-hour window.
  6. We’re still giving her Benadryl at night, because it definitely helps cut down on her night-time itching.
  7. I find it a little sad that my 2-year-old knows that she has two allergy medications (Zyrtec & Benadryl). Although she calls them “My itch me-cine.” And after I give her the Zyrtec, she says “Yum! My odder me-cine, Momma? Pwease?”
  8. I’m starting to wonder if her eczema is from contact instead of allergens. When it got really cold and dry this winter, her skin flipped out. But I’ve also noticed that certain shoes will cause little welts on her feet, mostly where there are seams that put pressure on her foot. Her hands and wrists are two other areas that get really irritated on a daily basis. As a toddler, she’s always running around, touching things, putting her hands in her mouth/in water/etc. Her knees, elbows, and inner arms are other areas that seem to take a beating, eczema wise.
  9. Our plan is to cut back on her prescription creams/ointments. Especially the steroids. We’re using a staggered approach. When we HAVE to use it, use every other day and alternate medications.
  10. In other news, I am Aquaphor’s favorite customer, since I seem to run through a tub of the stuff every month or so. Also, Curel’s Itch Defense lotion continues to provide her some relief.
  11. And we’re going to keep testing treatments/allergens on her. Our allergist said there’s no fast cure, a lot of it is trial and error. So … now you know everything.

On another note, we are ALMOST a diaper-free house. More news on that later.