Man­ag­ing eczema

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

TWENTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD Nina Lee was not pre­pared when her baby de­vel­oped eczema around the cheeks and arms. What hap­pened to hav­ing “smooth as baby’s skin”? Nina al­ready had a rough de­liv­ery which led to a cae­sarean.

The young mother was also un­able to suc­cess­fully breast­feed her child. Now eight months later, Nina is strug­gling with her baby’s skin flare-ups. It usually starts with an itch caus­ing the baby to scratch un­con­trol­lably. An in­fec­tion would then set in, ag­gra­vat­ing the skin fur­ther. Un­for­tu­nately, she had to use steroid creams to con­trol the flare-ups, which clearly isn’t a vi­able longterm so­lu­tion. What else can she do be­sides re­li­giously ap­ply­ing mois­turiser?

While there are var­i­ous mois­turis­ers avail­able to re­store the ab­nor­mal skin bar­rier, when it comes to ad­dress­ing ab­nor­mal­i­ties within the im­mune sys­tem, the op­tions are far and few in be­tween.

Western medicines of­fer the cau­tious use of im­mune­sup­pres­sant steroids both taken orally and in the form of oint­ments or creams, which work to re­lieve in­flam­ma­tion and itch­ing when a flareup oc­curs. Re­cent de­vel­op­ments in mi­cro­bial stud­ies found that mat­u­ra­tion of the im­mune sys­tem de­pends sig­nif­i­cantly on the vast col­lec­tion of bac­te­ria, which live in and on the hu­man body.

A hu­man body is made up of 10 tril­lion hu­man cells with 100 tril­lion mi­cro­bial cells liv­ing on the skin, in the gut, eyes, nose and gen­i­touri­nary tract. This huge col­lec­tion of bac­te­ria helps hu­mans fight bad bac­te­ria, pro­duce vi­ta­mins and im­prove di­ges­tion. It is re­spon­si­ble for 70% of our im­mune re­sponses.

Un­for­tu­nately, the pres­ence of these es­sen­tial bac­te­ria is be­ing ham­pered by var­i­ous life­style prac­tices. The three key con­trib­u­tors are namely Csec­tion de­liv­ery, an­tibi­otic use and for­mula feed­ing.

When bac­te­ria in the body are dis­rupted by these fac­tors, dif­fer­ent im­mune dis­or­ders (eczema, al­ler­gic rhini­tis, si­nusi­tis, asthma) can re­sult. Some stud­ies have sug­gested that cae­sare­an­de­liv­ered ba­bies may be more sus­cep­ti­ble to al­ler­gies and asthma. How­ever, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of pro­bi­otics from birth till about six months re­duces the in­ci­dence of al­lergy in chil­dren de­liv­ered via C-sec­tion. the term pro­bi­otics is a gen­eral term re­fer­ring to var­i­ous non­pathogenic bac­te­ria, which con­fer health ben­e­fits to hu­mans. Al­though there are var­i­ous strains of pro­bi­otics which help with the di­ges­tive tract, only few help mod­u­late the im­mune sys­tem and fewer still, have been shown to be clin­i­cally ef­fec­tive against eczema. PCC from Den­mark is a trusted pro­bi­otic strain, which has been rig­or­ously tested and found to sat­isfy all the re­quire­ments of an im­munereg­u­lat­ing pro­bi­otic adhering to all the strict stan­dards set by the FAO/World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion panel. her com­mu­nity phar­ma­cist who no­ticed how of­ten the young mother was fill­ing up her steroid cream pre­scrip­tions. Al­though the ef­fects were not im­me­di­ate, Nina dis­cov­ered over the weeks that her baby’s eczema had grad­u­ally set­tled down. Months later, she noted how the days be­tween her baby’s skin flare-ups are now much longer. Her baby is also less fussy and re­cov­ers much quicker.

This ar­ti­cle is brought to you by Nu­vanta Sdn Bhd. For more in­for­ma­tion, please call 1300 88 1712 or e-mail phar­ma­cist nu­

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