Friday, November 6, 2009
Medical Reports: Bleach for Eczema
It's an itchy, painful condition that keeps millions of children up at night. Eczema is a common skin problem that can be difficult to treat. As Seven's Christine Cruz shows us in today's healthcast, some doctors are sending patients to the laundry room to find relief.
WSVN -- Eight-year-old Ben Kieffer has the eyes and hands of an aspiring architect.
Ben Kieffer: "It's like a ship from Star Wars."
But since he was a baby, those hands have been covered in red, scaly rashes. Ben has Eczema, an itchy, painful skin condition all over his body.
Jennifer Kieffer: "His body would be covered. His hands would crack."
Creams and antibiotics didn't work and his skin was constantly infected.
Jennifer Kieffer: "He scratches the Eczema and then he scratches in the bacteria, and he gets infected, and it flares the Eczema, so you have this circle we couldn't break."
His mom enrolled Ben in a study not for a new drug but for a treatment that's as simple as turning on the faucet.
Dermatologist Amy Paller found adding a small amount of household bleach to a child's bath dramatically decreases the rashes and kills the infection.
She recommends half a cup for a full tub of water.
Dr. Amy Paller: "Very easy to obtain, inexpensive way to try to decrease not only the incidence of infections, but importantly, the severity of the Eczema itself."
In one study, up to 67 percent of kids with Eczema got relief with bleach baths compared to 15 percent who bathed in normal water.
Doctor Paller reminds parents never apply it directly on the skin because it can burn, and always talk to a doctor first.
Ben Kieffer: "It doesn't feel like anything."
A simple game plan that's given Ben the chance to focus on more important goals.
Christine Cruz: "Ben takes a bleach bath for about 10 minutes just about every day. Doctors say the treatment could also help protect people from community-acquired mrsa, but remember to always consult your doctor first."
For More Information:
Northwestern Memorial Hospital