Homeopathic Treatment of Severe Eczema in Baby Leads to Death

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Eczema in babies and children is generally benign, but when the irritated skin becomes infected it can result in sepsis. In the case of Gloria Sam, 9 months old, of Australia the sepsis from her infected eczema lead to her death.

Eczema is a general term for rash-like skin conditions. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction. Eczema is often very itchy and when you scratch it, the skin becomes red and inflamed. It is important to avoid scratching the irritated skin as this can break the skin. Bacteria can enter these breaks and cause infection.

An estimated 15 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. It occurs in adults and children, but most often appears on babies. Although the exact cause is unknown, eczema is not contagious. Eczema can’t be cured, but it can be managed.

Management of eczema flair-ups include:

1. Moisturizing the skin. Eczema is usually dry and itchy. Frequent moisturizing locks in the skin’s own moisture to prevent dryness and cracking. One of the best ways to lock in moisture is to apply moisturizer after bathing.

2. Avoid contact with anything that irritates the skin. There is a long list of skin irritants (soaps, bubble bath, perfumes, wool, plants, jewelry, etc). Learn what irritates your skin and limit contact with all that does.

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3. Avoid sweating and overheating. The most common triggers of the scratch/itch cycle are sweating and overheating. It is essential to prevent these situations whenever possible.

4. Keep fingernails short. Short nails decrease the likelihood that scratching will puncture the skin. Keeping nails short and wearing cotton gloves at night may help prevent scratching that punctures the skin while asleep. This is especially important in babies and children.

5. Dress in loose-fitting cotton clothes. Synthetic fabrics, wool, and other materials that feel rough to the touch often irritate the skin and trigger a flare-up. Cotton and cotton-blend clothes usually make skin feel better.

6. Find out if any food(s) triggers the atopic dermatitis. If you suspect a food allergy is a trigger, be sure to tell your dermatologist. Tests can be run to determine which, if any, food allergies exist.

7. Follow a prescribed treatment regimen. Moisturizing and using medications as directed by a dermatologist go a long way toward keeping flare-ups at bay.

If the eczema does not appear to be responding to treatment or worsens with treatment, see your physician. If there is any signs of infection (increased redness, fever, tenderness), then see your physician.

Gloria’s parents, Thomas Sam, a 42-year old college lecturer in homeopathy, and his wife Manju, 37, of Sydney were jailed Monday after being convicted in June of her manslaughter. They failed to seek treatment from conventional doctors and never contacted a skin specialist after a nurse noticed that their previously healthy baby had developed severe eczema at four months old. Her eczema became infected, led to septicemia, and ultimately her death in May 2002.

Materials from AP Press, Medline Plus, American Academy of Dermatoloty and American Academy of Family Physicians are used in this report.

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