Katarina, mother of a child with atopic dermatitis, sheds light on her experience

An illness such as atopic dermatitis is all-encompassing and goes well beyond the mere “rashes” on the skin. Together with food and environmental allergies, it becomes an especially difficult burden to bear. It’s one thing to face the illness as an adult, but it’s a whole other thing to deal with it as a parent. You hunt for information, try out different creams, see the doctors… You caress and scratch your child’s skin because you know that you will do it more gently than the child, who lacks feeling and can damage his skin in an instant.

The wounds bring with themselves a whole bunch of new problems in the form of skin infections. That’s why you don’t do the things that you otherwise would – because the skin is damaged, because the relentless itch can strike at any moment and place, because it’s too strenuous to drag a mini first-aid kit with you everywhere and take care of the wounds… In the end, you don’t sleep because your child doesn’t sleep properly either.

You try to be as strong as possible for your child while realising that you need support as well. You want to know/feel what your child feels. Actually, no, you want to feel the itch and the discomfort of the atopic skin instead of him. You want to get to know all the ways to ease your child’s suffering that you’ve not yet tried out or heard or read of before. Of course, your first recourse is to prescription creams, but you soon realise that the eczema inevitably returns, even stronger than before, after the mandatory break in the treatment.

You then realise that you’re dealing with a chronic illness for which no cure exists. The only thing left to you is to use the least harmful means to improve your child’s skin condition and ease the itch.

For me, it’s at this point that Tina’s Institute Atopika plays a very important role. I’m especially thankful for the support group where you can let loose about how damn difficult it is to control the whole thing and where you can get useful advice on what works and what’s worth trying out – all this from a person who’s experienced the struggle herself, who can at least partially explain to you what your child is going through when he is too small to talk about his sensations and feelings himself. You’re surrounded by people who know exactly how frustrating it is when the illness gets worse without a visible or intelligible cause and share your joy when things start looking up. This type of support is invaluable to me. Thank you, Institute Atopika and thank you, Tina!