Stephanie Smith, of Atlanta, Georgia is a young mother whose son Isaiah spent the first year of his life with his body covered in a mysterious red rash.
According to Opposing Views, Isaiah began suffering from flares of the rash when he was only three months old, and it appeared to occur whenever anyone wearing perfume or clothes with fabric softener came in close contact with the child. Doctors diagnosed the condition as eczema and prescribed a low dose of over-the-counter steroids to treat it.
“His skin cleared up but a week later it came back, so we applied more,” Smith said. “This went on in a cycle over two months. Then his hair started to fall out. He became sick and lethargic. But all the doctors I took him to just said it was eczema. They told me to stop breastfeeding him as the milk protein could make it worse.”
Isaiah was rushed to the hospital with burning red, raw skin and doctors injected him with liquid steroids, which initially cleared the rash up. 48 hours later, however, it returned worse than ever before, and Isaiah’s skin became covered in oozing, red lesions.
“We couldn’t even hold him,” Smith said. “Every time our skin touched his, it would blister and ooze like crazy,” she said. “I couldn’t even touch my cheek to his. We couldn’t use towels, because they were too rough on his skin. Instead we used thin cotton sheets. He was most comfortable in his bathtub, the water pouring over him in the sink. But he was still in pain. He would wail, and I would cry along. People asked what we had done to our baby. They asked, ‘has he been in a fire?’ He looked like he had third degree burns. I once heard a nurse say, ‘you have got to come and see this kid.’”
The family spent a year in an almost reclusive state, rarely going outside and not allowing their child to come in contact with most of the world. When Isaiah was at his worst, Smith came upon a forum that described the affects of steroid-withdrawal.
“It was all about the side-effects of topical steroids, and how skin conditions can get worse when you stop using them,” she said. “I scrolled through picture after picture of children with skin like Isaiah. Red raw skin, flaking off and oozing.”
Smith immediately stopped using steroids on her son and instead began applying a blend of lemongrass and zinc under gauze.
“As time went on we saw patches of clear skin,” she said. “Isaiah would walk to the kitchen island, where I kept the balm, point at the jar and point to his face. It clearly soothed him. I took about 50 photos a day to see the progress, because it could change moment to moment.”
Ten months later, Isaiah’s skin was totally clear.
“We still don’t know for sure what caused the original contact dermatitis,” his mother said. “But looking back, because of severe medical allergies in my family history, I think it might have been a reaction to medication. I had a C-section and was given Ibuprofen afterwards, and I believe that was passed on through my breast milk. We saw 35 doctors altogether. They all said it was eczema. I want to show them all the photos showing how Isaiah’s skin cleared up.”
Today, Isaiah is a normal toddler, and he doesn’t even have allergic reactions to perfumes!
“He is like any other toddler,” Smith said. “He chatters away, runs everywhere and is into everything. He helps me around the house. He’s so sweet spirited. We lost the first year of his life. I wasn’t able to kiss him or hold him. Now we squeeze him all the time. He is a squeezable little guy.”
We’re glad this story had a happy ending, God bless this family!
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