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Stop the deadly spread of … eczema

Submitted by on Wednesday, 3 June 2009 2 Comments

Here’s one I never would have guessed in a million years would have been an issue for Big Guy at school: Eczema.

He’s had outbreaks lately, which he does this time every year as the weather warms, the air dries and he spends more time in the pool. It’s never, ever, ever been a problem other than for him. And for me, as I battle him to apply the hydrocortisone.

Today, it was a problem that kept him out of class for almost two hours as he waited on a health technician to clear him to return.

His teacher sent him to the health office with a case of itchy knees a bit after 9. It actually was a mild rash in the Big Guy scheme of things – his first outbreak, when he was about six months old, was so bad it looked like scabies.

What looked mild to me apparently was scary to others. The school secretary called me to say he had a rash that needed to be looked at.

“Yes, I know,” I replied. “He has eczema, and he’s been having an outbreak lately.”

“Eczema? That’s highly contagious. You’ll have to pick him up,” the secretary replied.

It almost made me wish secretaries at our school had enough time to leisurely peruse the kids’ medical records. “Eczema?” I replied, far more sharply than I should have. “No, it’s not contagious. It’s a chronic thing that could be related to his food allergies. I can bring his cream down and apply it if you want.”

“I don’t know about that. I’ll have to hold him out of class until someone gets here to examine him. That’ll be about 10:30.”

Great. He gets to cool his heels by himself in an exam room because someone’s never heard of eczema.

When the health tech arrived, she quickly cleared him. Luckily for Big Guy, she also has eczema and allergies so she knew the deal. Bring the cream, she said.

The deadly outbreak of highly contagious eczema was ended by 11. But not before Big Guy had missed most of his day in kindergarten.

It all leaves me wondering what to do next year. Big Guy likely will be changing schools, and I’m likely going to ask his allergist to explain eczema in his new medical report. The allergist  likely is going to think I’m insane, and someone at his new school likely is going to think I’m one of those condescending parents of allergic children who feels compelled to educate the ignorant masses about things that everyone knows.

Except this morning, not everyone knew, and that not knowing led to a lot of wasted time and a little boy sitting alone.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Beckie Tetrault said:

    Oh, poor guy! DS has eczema too, and he gets some of the oddest looks when he’s in full breakout. I feel the constant need to explain that he’s not contagious :(

  • Debra said:

    There’s actually been an up side to this, Beckie. Big Guy’s quit balking at having his “itchy” medicine applied ever since the quarantine. He used to complain that it stung. I’ve never figured out if that’s true. I use the same medicine on my face even and I’ve never had a problem, though it could just as easily be a case of different people reacting differently as it is a case of Big Guy being fussy.

    At any rate, he no longer complains. I guess a little sting is preferable to solitary confinement.