Which came first, asthma or excema?
March 19, 2009 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone here have any experience treating BOTH excema and asthma?

I have been having asthma episodes, which is something that I have rarely had to deal with (like 10 years ago). When my Dr. made the recent diagnosis of asthma, he mentioned in passing that it was easier to make this call due to my chronic dry skin (excema). I got well, but last night I started coughing and weezing again and now I am poking around the net trying to figure out if there is a way to treat the excema (which I, admittedly have just looked upon as a feature of my life in winter) that would help the asthma.

So anyone here ever dealt with this? Thank you in advance.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You might have more luck Googling if you use the spelling "eczema".

Sorry I don't have more to offer.
posted by amtho at 12:45 PM on March 19, 2009

You might want to look into the relationship between gluten and inflammation. I would suggest trying a gluten-free diet for a couple months to see if your symptoms let up. People will probably dismiss this as quackery, but temporarily altering your diet as a test costs you nothing in medical bills.
posted by Durin's Bane at 1:02 PM on March 19, 2009

Asthma and eczema are related. If you know some of the triggers for eczema they may be the same for your asthma. Diet is a good thing to try, but it is more complex than just saying no gluten, or no milk etc. Everyone has different triggers. Keeping a detailed log of what you eat and when you have eczema and asthma symptoms can help you identify potential food allergens to try avoiding. You can also enhance your log with activities and locations in case your triggers are related to something like the air quality of a certain location. Good luck.
posted by caddis at 1:22 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've never really thought about it before, but yeah it's true... whenever I've had problems with asthma (as a persistent sort of thing), that's when I get eczema too. But managing my seasonal allergies (leading cause of my asthma attacks... and thus eczema breakouts) is the main hurdle, and I've decided this year I'm starting early with the loratadiene tablets (the 24 hour meds) because I'm starting to sneeze and get mucous-y already... the pharmacist says if I take them early in the season and continue every day, my allergies should be tolerable this year.
posted by lizbunny at 1:38 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have both, with the traditional link between the two being mentioned when I was a kid. While I suffered serious lactose intolerance as a small child I pretty much outgrew it by my teens; varying lactose intake seems to make very little difference to both. Dust is terrible for both of them, though, and certain washing powders will make my skin itch and make me breathe hard.

The main wins I've had treating the two conditions, however, are seperate - moistursing dry patches of skin generally helps avoid full-on problems, and my athsma has dramatically fallen off as I've become more physically fit - after a couple of years of doing Judo I've gone from churning through a ventolin inhaler a month on average, to one every six months.
posted by rodgerd at 1:42 PM on March 19, 2009

I used to have both eczema and asthma. A friend recommended a candida treatment program, which I found at Whole Foods. My eczema's now gone. Maybe my asthma is too. I haven't had an attack in a while (years, actually), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's permanently gone. I don't really know much about candida, so I don't know if it'll work for you.

I've also heard apple cider vinegar helps with both, but I don't have any experience with that. Earth Clinic seems to confirm this.
posted by larkin123 at 1:43 PM on March 19, 2009

washing powders - in this context, clothes washing powders.
posted by rodgerd at 1:43 PM on March 19, 2009

Allergy shots. I had both eczema and asthma as a youngster, but 12 years of allergy shots cured me right up! I have no idea if allergy shots work in adults, but I assume they would. They basically build your body's immunity to seasonal allergens. I never had any success with an inhaler.
posted by billysumday at 1:49 PM on March 19, 2009

Google narrow-band UV light therapy, which (because it doesn't involve a prescription) the medical establishment is not always aware of--it worked wonders for me. Singulair is also a wonderdrug. I would also recommend taking a bath vs. showering, as showering removes your bodies natural oils and drying out your skin. Bathing hydrates but you've got to use a lotion immediately following the bath to retain that moisture. Good luck!
posted by eggman at 2:39 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Most of the treatments mentioned in this thread are dubious, to say the least; there is little evidence that they will be helpful to you. What you really should do, provided you have insurance, is go to see an allergist, who will have the tools necessary to evaluate what's going on with you, such as allergy testing, and the training to put you on an appropriate course of therapy to manage your symptoms. This may involve drugs, immunotherapy, or something as simple as identifying and avoiding the allergens that are triggers for you.
posted by monocyte at 4:03 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Whatever happened to good old cortisone cream and an inhaler? Those both work for me. Yay steroids!
posted by furtive at 4:32 PM on March 19, 2009

Google is a very very bad doctor.

If your doctor is not an allergist then you should be Googling for one.

If they are an allergist, you should maybe Google for a different one who's a little sharper.

Cortisone creme (even just the 1% over the counter stuff) can work wonders on eczema.
posted by Ookseer at 5:21 PM on March 19, 2009

"Most of the treatments mentioned in this thread are dubious, to say the least; there is little evidence that they will be helpful to you"

The narrow-band UV light therapy I mention is a relatively new treatment for eczema--however, it was "prescribed" by my immunologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. The light-therapy part has been around for awhile--the narrow band UV filtering is new. There is plenty of evidence if you Google it . . .
posted by eggman at 5:34 PM on March 19, 2009

I did say most... Immunotherapy is also not hooey, nor are many of the possible allergic triggers mentioned here. Unfortunately in this thread they are mixed in with all sorts of nonefficacious crap (sorry, I know you're all just trying to help). In any case no treatment, even if it's a good one, is appropriate in all cases; the OP really needs to see a specialist to get a more thorough evaluation and an organized treatment plan which hopefully will moderate both facets of his/her disease.
posted by monocyte at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2009

My son has both asthma and eczema. After visiting an allergist, dermatolist, doctor, trying suggestions found/sent online, we've found that what works best, is, as furtive mentioned, cortisone cream and an inhaler.
posted by Badmichelle at 1:08 AM on March 20, 2009

My brother had both when he was a kid. And both went away as a teenager/adult. You sould go see a doctor, and they can probably give you cream for eczema, and a puffer for your asthma.
posted by chunking express at 8:21 AM on March 20, 2009

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