Beth S. was at her wits’ end trying to bring relief to her son, Adam, when he was a baby with a persistent itchy, red rash and frequent skin infections. “The pediatricians didn’t seem to fully understand what caused his symptoms or how to treat them,” she says. “One doctor suggested I just lube him up after a bath. I knew there had to be more to it than that.” She was sitting outside a doctor’s office, feeling despondent after yet another discouraging visit that seemed to shed little light on Adam’s condition, when a nurse approached her and suggested that Beth take her son to an allergist. “At the time, it didn’t make much sense to me,” Beth says. “I didn’t see how asthma or allergies could be related to something that made my son so uncomfortable in his own skin.”
But the advice proved to be a crucial turning point in Adam’s life. Adam’s allergy-test results showed that he’s allergic to just about every environmental allergen there is, from dust mites to grass. Trial and error at home taught Beth that her son has sensitivities to many different kinds of food. Adam developed reactive airway disease at age 2, and uses an inhaled corticosteroid daily. With the help of their allergist, Beth’s family has made adjustments, learned a few godsend tips (Beth raves about bleach baths, daily baths using a quarter cup of bleach to minimize infection). They are mastering a learning curve on the path to a better quality of life for Adam, now 6. Beth’s on a mission to help other families avoid the years of misery and confusion she and Adam dealt with before they understood his health issues. She leads the Northern Virginia support group for the National Eczema Association, speaking at meetings with an allergist to provide support and information to parents and patients grappling with the mysteries of asthma and its related conditions.
This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.