RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Pictures of a common skin disorder called Eczema never do it justice. Characterized by flaky inflamed skin it is itchy, and oftentimes patients can develop a bacterial infection because of the scratching.
Carl Braun has lived with Eczema since we was seven years old. He says over the course of his life it’s gotten better, and sometimes worse.
He says as a first and second grader he learned to cope with it.
“I learned to live with it,” says Braun. “Kind of ignored it. My mom was pretty, like you know, your hands and wrists and arms are a mess. I’m yea, but that’s the way it is. So, she would take me to the doctor and they would give something to put on it.”
At that time there was no effective treatment for eczema for adults much less children. But Braun says he carried on.
There are some kids who don’t handle their eczema as well as Carl. They can be stressed out about outbreaks, which can make the situation worse. Classmates, even teachers wonder if the skin disorder is contagious and ask the child about it. The answer is no it is not.
And there are other physical and psychological issues that can go with eczema.
“Kids will draw pictures of themselves,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson, a board-certified Dermatologist with the Nevada Center for Dermatology. “I had one little girl draw a picture of herself, with lying in bed with needles coming out of her skin and knifes coming out of the ceiling. You know those are a little more concerning. The child is trying to express themselves how bad this eczema can be.”
Dr. Lamerson says for years the FDA did not take this skin disorder seriously. Consequently, not a lot of medication for atopic dermatitis was available.
But that has changed with the advent of medications like Dupixent which works by blocking natural proteins in the body. Carl shows us his hands and points to a problem hot spot which rarely flares up these days.
“It’s almost been like a miracle drug for me,” says Carl.
The medication is approved for children as well. And Dr. Lamerson says it can help children with more than just itchy red skin.
“When you treat the eczema and the eczema goes away, then that problem to elicit their anxiety or their frustration is gone,” she says.