Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eczema Haul!!!

An End Eczema first today: let's look at a video. As I've said before, this blog is going to be light on photos and such because eczema doesn't make the most attractive visuals. And video? Well, this one is an exception. It's kind of fun. The girl has decided to show us all the panoply or arsenal or whatever of the products that she uses daily to treat her eczema. She's titled her video "Eczema Haul!!!" --must be some new slang term I haven't heard of.

Easy to tell that she's American: well, first, her accent, but if you hadn't registered that, "I don't have insurance" is a dead giveaway. Let me be perfectly clear. I live in the U.S., but I think it's barbaric that this is the only first-world country without universal health insurance. Imagine having eczema and getting a staph infection and wondering whether you ought to go see a doctor because it might cost too much. For one thing, every infection that unnecessarily goes too far puts other people at risk of being infected.

Here's the video (she's disabled embedding).

A couple interesting points. She's obviously very keen on Aveeno. So am I. It's a great company with great products, and the Daily Moisturizing Lotion with dimethicone (a rubbery sealant) is almost the best I've found. The shaving gel is awesome, although a while back they were having manufacturing problems and you couldn't find it in stores, so I've been using some fragrance-free Edge. But you can't go completely Aveeno. I tried Aveeno shampoo and found it little better than ordinary shampoo,  leaving my scalp drier than the Mojave. Here's my secret: tar shampoo, rinse, and then, rubbed into the scalp, some jojoba oil.

Ironically, jojoba grows in the Mojave.

Toward the end she pulls out a bottle of vitamin E capsules and touts its benefits to people with skin diseases. "Vitamins are good for you, period, people." I am not so sure. I confess to taking a daily multivitamin (mostly for the potassium-- I get muscle cramps sometimes), but all that I read about eczema tells me that the way to a happier you is to avoid problem foods rather than take any miracle nostrums.

To quote an impeccable authority, Wikipedia:
The consensus in the medical community is that there is no good evidence to support health benefits from vitamin E supplementation, yet there is strong evidence that taking more than 400 IU of vitamin E per day for extended periods increases the risk of death.
I like to avoid death, myself. It's something that, according to the prophet Mohammed, even black cumin can't cure.

Something I forgot to relate after my trip east to the science writers' conference this past weekend: there is a new book just out on MRSA. Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA. (The author, Maryn McKenna, was on a panel discussing how to publish a popular science book.) I'm not saying you should read it--even the website gives me the willies--but it sure looks like the comprehensive resource on the emergence of this medical hazard that is of concern to everyone with eczema. Perhaps Dr. Sib can give us her perspective on MRSA, what it's like to deal with it in the hospital.

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