Connor, our 9 month old son, has eczema. Really bad eczema. He was diagnosed with it at 8 weeks old and has been to the doctor countless times, tried numerous creams and oils and even saw a dermatologist and was allergy tested. A few weeks ago my husband and I went on a marriage retreat in SC (thank you army!) and we brought Connor with us. His eczema cleared up 100% within a day and a half. With no medicines or creams or anything done on our part to try to get rid of it, it just cleared up. Completely. Just by being away from home.
So that got us thinking. It's not our house because we just moved here in June and he's had his eczema since around February/March. The only thing that made sense was our dogs. The doctors had been telling me that you can't develop an allergy to pets so young, it wouldn't cause eczema, etc. Then my friend found this article that says otherwise. And when we came home from the trip, his eczema came back within a day and a half. And it came back with a vengeance. A patch on his face got infected and because his immune system was working so hard against the infection he ended up with a rash all over his belly and back. So back to the pediatrician we went!
He got put on an oral steroid, an antibiotic, and a new steroid cream for his body. We also found someone to watch our dogs temporarily so we could deep clean the house and see if having them gone helped him any. And to top it all off (as if that wasn't enough as it is) we had him blood tested for allergies again, this time testing pet dander and a ton more food and environmental allergies. (Before, we'd had him tested for wheat, eggs, dairy and nuts, all of which were negative.) The tests showed no allergies. But guess what? He started to clear up with the dogs gone.
After coming off of the steroid we waited to see if it came back. If it did, then it was the steroid making it stay clear. After a few days he was still clear! So after a week and a half of the dogs being gone we let them come back home. And wouldn't you know it, within just a few HOURS his eczema started coming back. Within 24 hours he had a bad patch of it on his face and the rash was back on his body. So we made the decision to find the dogs new homes.
It wasn't easy, we've had the dogs since they were puppies, 5.5 and 6.5 years. They were our kids before we had our own human baby. But Connor HAS to come first, and I couldn't let my baby suffer just because we were selfish in not wanting to give up the dogs. I tried finding them a home together, but couldn't. So the big dog went to the home of the people who watched them for that week and a half. They have a large fenced in yard, and another small dog for her to play with. The chihuahua went to a friend of mine, she has a young son and another dog for him to play with. I couldn't have just given them to anybody, I couldn't have given them to a shelter. I know that these people are giving them good homes and that they're happy. And it's now been a few weeks and Connor is MUCH better. We're in the process of deep cleaning the house and getting rid of any trace of dog. We went to a friends house over the weekend and they have a dog, so his eczema came back a little bit, but it's manageable, and with his ointment it's starting to go away.
We miss the dogs, but Connor is a much happier baby without being itchy, and without having sores from scratching. And I'm happy that I fought for my son, did my own research, argued (nicely) with the doctors, and FINALLY figured out what was causing his eczema.