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Itch
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Two-yr-old granddaughter has been gluten free since June 2004, but now has developed huge itchy skin which she scratches bloody. She cries and squirms and is miserable. We have tried Curel, Benadryl cream, Eucerin and Aquafor. Help!

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The spots can be miserable. Be patient with her scratching. It is the most intense "itch" you can imagine...like thousands of tiny needles attacking you from underneath your skin.

I have found some things that help us in our family:

If the spots are getting red around them, she probably has a secondary infection. Let the doctor determine that and if so they will probably give her a prescription for something like Clindagel to rub on them.

My preferred choice for itch relief is to take a bubble bath in a Shaklee product called Basic H. It is a very mild household cleaner that can also be used on a baby's bottom to help control diaper rash. I put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in a tub of warm water and soak. The bubbles don't seem to make my eyes burn, but you might have to warn a two year old to be a little more careful. My spots are even less red when I get out.

After bathing, I have found that keeping the spots moist and away from air helps with the itching. I use a Watkins product called Petrocarb. It is basically a petroleum jelly with camphor and such in it to help with the pain of the itch. I try to keep it on the spots so that they are not exposed to air or allowed to dry up and get itchier as they heal.

If she has been gluten-free for a while and the spots had pretty much gone away, you may want to search for the new gluten source she has come into contact with. Has her soap, shampoo, or clothes detergent changed recently? Has she eaten out at a new place or has a different brand of an item been purchased?

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I used all of those for my son as well as 8 different prescriptions for eczema and none of them helped. I believe he has DH. There is also a DH online website that may be useful to you: http://www.dermatitisherpetiformis.org.uk/links.html

I know that there are prescription meds for DH but I don't know any of their names. I try and control my sons through diet (no dairy, eggs, gluten), he takes borage oil, digestive enzymes, acidophilus, he only wears 100% cotton (even his bed sheets are 100% cotton). I've read that dust, dust mites, pet dander can contribute to the itchiness. So, we use one of those pleated allergen air filters at home. Currently we use dove sensitive skin at bath time but I am in the process of trying to learn how to make soap rich in hempseed oil and shea butter. Also, against some doctor's opinions, after bath before bed, I slather him down with Vaseline. All of the above have helped my son. Perhaps they may help your grandchild.

Also, I recently read, but have not verified, that people w/DH should be careful of the amount of iodine in their diet. I'm not sure about that, like I said I haven't had a chance to investigate it further.

Good luck. If I think of anything else I will let you know.

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Dear Snoopy, I learned recently much to my horror that most cotton fabrics sold recently (2 or 3 years) contain genetically engineered cotton to which the body reacts as if it were a synthetic. Only alternative is to buy organic clothes and sheets. I do buy in thrift stores cotton clothes that tend to be old but I can tell right away by my reaction if they contain GE cotton and your son may not be able to tell so try one set of organic and see if it makes a difference--Lockett

I used all of those for my son as well as 8 different prescriptions for eczema and none of them helped.  I believe he has DH.  There is also a DH online website that may be useful to you: http://www.dermatitisherpetiformis.org.uk/links.html 

I know that there are prescription meds for DH but I don't know any of their names.  I try and control my sons through diet (no dairy, eggs, gluten), he takes borage oil, digestive enzymes, acidophilus, he only wears 100% cotton (even his bed sheets are 100% cotton).  I've read that dust, dust mites, pet dander can contribute to the itchiness.  So, we use one of those pleated allergen air filters at home.  Currently we use dove sensitive skin at bath time but I am in the process of trying to learn how to make soap rich in hempseed oil and shea butter.  Also, against some doctor's opinions, after bath before bed, I slather him down with Vaseline.  All of the above have helped my son.  Perhaps they may help your grandchild. 

Also, I recently read, but have not verified, that people w/DH should be careful of the amount of iodine in their diet.  I'm not sure about that, like I said I haven't had a chance to investigate it further.

Good luck.  If I think of anything else I will let you know.

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I did not realized about the iodine until recently. I have stopped it completely and it does seem to make a difference. Also realize that once glutened, the DH spots can come and go for months, long after any celiac disease symptoms have left.

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Hi njferrero,

Have you check the source of all those lotions and meds you are puting on the skin? Could they possibly contain gluten? <_< One thing we do for itch is take milk baths, (Unless there is a sensitivity to dairy) We buy powdered milk and put 5 or 6 cups into a warm bath (it's cheaper that way!) You can also try witch hazel, you apply it with a cotton ball or soft towel, it is very sooting to the skin. Ask your doctor first but we have also soaked with epsom salts in the tub. Extremely soothing! I'm not sure with a 2 year old though. Especially if the rash may be infected.

Double check everything that comes in contact with the baby to make positive sure everything is gluten-free

Also... find out from your doctor what you can do to keep the skin moist from the inside out. Meaning...I take Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil). It helps with every system of the body including the skin. :) I have no idea if children can take it though. do you live in a dry environment? What about a humidifier?

I hope all is well soon, Wendy

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Those epsom salt baths are a life saver not only with the itch but also with muscle aches and spasms.

Our dermatologist and allergist had us put a tsp of clorox in our baths to cut the bacteria in the sores and help them heal. It also helped keep the redness down.

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My daughter has used a prescription topical med called hydrocortisone valerate which seemed to improve her itching and helped her heal. This was prescribed for eczema, so I'm not sure it would be appropriate for your child.

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