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The New York Times recently reported that a study was just published in the Journal of Pediatrics showing the children who took a bath in a half a cup of bleach per full standard tub were relieved of their eczema related itching. The bleach apparently had very little odor and the children were relieved of the itching. One article totes the solution of using bleach in the bath with children as “safe, simple and inexpensive…” and I’m trying to figure out how the hell this is safe. Something is seriously messed up about this and I’m feeling very sick over the idea of a child breathing the toxic fumes, having their body exposed to the toxic substance when bath time should be a safe place to play. Do the children drink the water? How does it not get in their eyes? How is this legal and okay? Time Magazine explains that using the bleach bath might sound harsh but it’s safer than exposing children to the antibiotics…
“The bottom line is that the more antibiotics we use, the higher the risk for something becoming resistant to them,” says Dr. Amy Paller, a study author, specialist in pediatric dermatology and chair of the dermatology department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The beauty of something like dilute bleach is that one doesn’t get resistance to it.”
Eczema and Your Child
So what is eczema and why is that you would want to put bleach patches on your child’s skin or have them soak in a bath of bleach? The online eczema center compares a bleach bath at home to swimming in a pool but will parents correctly mix the solution and aren’t may pools trying to switch from bleach to safer alternatives? Besides not all bleach is the same and companies like Clorox have ultra bleach with high concentrates. Seems like a dangerous prescription for a doctor to give and easy mistake for concerned parents to make.
Both my daughter and my niece suffer from eczema so I understand the frustration and wanting to help your child. According to Keep Kids Healthy eczema is:
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a common problem in infants and children. It usually begins between two and six months of age with very dry and sensitive skin that will then become red and extremely itchy. It often starts on the forehead, cheeks and scalp and spreads to the trunk, creases of the elbows, knees, and wrists. With scratching the rash may become raw, crusted and weepy.
Kids Health offers many solutions and helpful tips, none of which include bleach. Avoiding harsh detergents, clothing and lotions instead are suggested. I’m not sure I would call bleach a mild detergent or soap. A March 2009 study claims that food allergies are not to blame for eczema but instead says environmental and seasonal allergies might be playing a role in the increased number of children being diagnosed and suffering from eczema.
Eczema can be made worse by allergens like pollen, as well as irritants like soap or woolen clothing, according to the Institute.
“Research knowledge on eczema and allergies is growing quickly, so parents need to make sure that the information they are relying on is based on up-to-date evidence,” commented Professor Sawicki.
I’m not sure I agree with the study totally ruling out food allergies. Have you read Monica from Healthy Green Mom and her experience with eczema and food allergies?
Must Know Information on Bleach
If you decide to use this so called “safe” remedy I would really like to point out some information about bleach and poisoning – the dangers associated with bleach. From Right Health:
Airways and lungs
Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
Throat swelling (may also cause breathing difficulty)
Pulmonary edema (water filling the lungs)
Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
Severe pain in the throat
Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
Loss of vision
Severe abdominal pain
Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
Blood in the stool
Heart and blood vessels
Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
Severe change in acid levels of the blood (pH balance) which leads to damage in all of the body organs)
Many children I personally know with eczema also suffer from asthma and allergies (my daughter) and if I used this bleach remedy it would likely throw her into a horrible asthma attack. Chlorine bleach has even been linked to childhood asthma but a year after this study was released another study comes out telling parents that it is okay to put their child in a bath with chlorine bleach – what? The American Academy of Allergies and Asthma even lists Chlorine Bleach as causing dermitis and irritating the skin. Personally, we opted out of taking my daughter to swimming lessons due to the high chlorine odor and what we felt it would do for her lungs; why would I put her in a bath of it and let her breath it?
Natural Alternatives and Solutions for Eczema
There are a number of other alternatives that I would personally consider but everyone should contact their doctor and feel comfortable with their choice for treatment. Personally, using probiotics and other natural alternatives and food changes to help “heal the gut” as well as avoiding all thing harsh on babies skin, using botanical solutions for pain relief and even seeking alternative medicine. I like how Dr. Amy Well’s explains eczema and that creams and medicine doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Dr. Amy Well’s offers some great suggestsions for helping naturally cure and deal with eczema.
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