Wednesday, November 06, 2013

And she has......

Back in October I noticed that Adelynn had some build up on her scalp. At first I thought it was cradle cap since what I noticed was on the very top of her head. When I began to look closer I realized that the build up wasn't just a small patch it was all over her head. I kept wondering how I was able to miss this taking over her head. Despite my best efforts her scalp kept getting worse. The baby oil rubbed into her hair and massaged around to loosen the scales was not working. It was beginning to bother me. Little did I know the scale build up was bothering her even more. I noticed her itching her scalp more and she began to pull out clumps of scales and hair. As the days passed her condition began to worsen. A rash began to form around her ears that began to creep down the back of her neck. Eventually the rash began to form white scales causing her much discomfort.

Looking at the symptoms I began to wonder if what Adelynn had was more than a simple over active case of cradle cap. Checking her all over I noticed that the rash was concentrated on her head but that she also had some evidence of warped finger and toe nails. All of this led me to believe that eczema was not the culprit. Generally that is the most common type of skin problem especially when the weather turns cold. Last week I talked to a friend about Adelynn's rash. I suspected that what Adelynn was developing were symptoms of psoriasis. My friend has been treated for psoriasis for many years and was a good source for describing symptoms. My friend is not a doctor and I asked her questions based on her 30 years of knowledge of her own personal experiences with the disease. Based on her assessment she agreed with me in that Adelynn was suffering from psoriasis. She suggested some shampoos to try until I could get an appointment with a doctor.

Our family doctor did not believe Adelynn had psoriasis because it's very rare for children to exhibit the disease. As a precaution he referred us to a dermatologist. While we waited for the dermatologist appointment I kept up with the oil massaging treatments at night. Every other night I massaged a good amount of almond oil into her scalp. The next morning we washed her hair using Dermarest shampoo. A week of this process made a substantial improvement in the scale build up. That's a very big deal because it's the scales that cause her to scratch her head constantly. Reducing her scratching has made her scalp look much healthier. The other benefit is she has not been pulling out her hair.

The visit to the dermatologist was not long at all. He took a good look at her checking all over her body to clearly identify the locations of her out break. He concluded that Adelynn does have psoriasis. Her rash is consistent with the standard locations of where the skin is most affected. He mentioned that when it comes to skin conditions in little children it is best to go to a pediatric dermatologist. Adults react differently to skin conditions and often little ones have very faint reactions. Psoriasis can be very bothersome to treat. It is even more difficult to treat in children. It's a disease that is genetically passed on and is not contagious.

We've been reading about psoriasis to learn how to treat Adelynn. So far the shampoo and steroids have been controlling her rash. As far as what her future holds that is going to be complicated. Her reactions can change over time. Eventually she may need to take medication. We hope that her form of the disease will remain simple to treat. The biggest thing is keeping her skin healthy. She will need to bathe every other day to keep her skin clean and particularly her scalp needs to be a focus. A decent lotion is required every day especially in winter to keep her skin hydrated. The other big preventive is sunblock. She will need to be very careful of sunburn. Sunburn can make psoriasis worse because psoriasis already causes the skin to slough off at a faster than normal rate add a sunburn and the rash can get really out of control. Since she is so fair I have been good at putting sunblock on her. Now that means we need to ensure that she is not going to be over exposed. One little sunburn can make her extremely uncomfortable. I need to create a good habit of keeping sunblock with me at all times.

Her diet will not need to be altered. That may come to pass later but at the moment there is nothing that should be intensifying her reaction. Making sure she takes in plenty of fluid each day for her skin to be hydrated from the inside out is about the only addition to her diet that we need to do. Actually that's not such a bad idea for all of us. I'm relieved to have an answer to her scalp dilemma. It's not what I wanted to hear but she can be treated and her comfort controlled. Learning about the disease has become a priority. I want to discover all I can about psoriasis in small children. There is not much out there about it in little children. I expect this will be a lengthy learning process for us all as we figure out the best way to treat her.

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