Modern life comes with its own advantages, issues, challenges, comforts. It’s almost as if every era has a mind of its own – technology, fashion, trends, beliefs, practices – even health conditions. This post is about a specific condition whose rise seems to be connected to our lifestyles.
Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as Eczema is a condition of the skin that leads to itchy, sometimes swollen rashes. A variety of reasons are ascribed to the rise of the condition – increased pollution in the air, food with little or no nutrients, allergies to pesticides, lack of immunity, exposure to multiple radiations, etc. Yet, there is no single known cause for the condition. Our daughter suffered from the condition for several years as a baby, toddler and a young child. Each time the severity and length of the attack would vary, and our coping mechanisms had to evolve to keep up with her stage of life.
While any discomfort for a child is bad enough, children with eczema have to face a ton of other downers too. Eczema is not only a very painful condition for the child(sleep, appetite, ability to move and general quality of life suffers), but it is a condition that has the potential to leave a psychological scar on the child and blow the child’s confidence. If you want to read how distressed the child and the parent feel, read here.
Which brings us to the whole point of our book review today.
“I have Eczema…So what?” by Anindita Guha Maulik Rungta and Dr Amrita Talwar is a one-of-a-kind book. For one, it tries to deconstruct one of the most ill-understood but increasingly common conditions among us. Published by FunOKPlease, the book tells the story of a little 9-year-old girl called Maya, who suffers from Eczema. As a mother of a child who suffered from a severe condition, the thing I absolutely loved about the book is that it neither demonizes the condition nor oversimplifies it.
The author, Anindita Guha is a functional medicine health coach – a specialised type of health coaching that treats the root cause of any chronic condition. The book emerged out of her own experience as a mother of a child with eczema, who was treated by Dr. Amrita Talwar, a dermatologist, also the book’s co-author.
This is a story of how a family can come together to find ways to mitigate the pain and isolation that accompany health conditions such as eczema – Anindita Guha Maulik Rungta, author of “I have Eczema…so what?”
The book describes the condition through the eyes of Maya, by describing her daily life through her skin condition. The book picks up on how her life changes with eczema and what she does to cope with the changes her body demands. I particularly liked the way the book addressed the risks from misconceptions of other people.
Says Anindita on the purpose behind writing this book, ” It is a story about the pain and the struggles that are associated with a chronic health condition that is poorly understood by many in our society and how it can affect a child (or even an adult) and undermine their confidence and self-esteem. But more importantly, this is a story of how we can learn to cope with it using love, encouragement, teamwork as we have done for our daughter.”
[bctt tweet=”This is a story of how a family can come together to mitigate the pain and isolation that accompany eczema.” username=”@kidskintha]
The biggest myth about eczema is that it is infectious. Having a visible skin condition like eczema makes a child stand out from others and can make them the brunt of jokes, comments and bullying by other children.
During the time that our daughter endured this chronic skin condition, she had to deal with a lot of bullying and isolation due to lack of awareness about the condition. The book also has very clear, actionable suggestions for dealing with the psychological stress.
Obviously, this book is a great choice for reading to children with the condition, but what makes it absolutely stand out is that this makes great reading for children without the condition as well.
Here’s Anindita on bullying due to eczema: “Having a visible skin condition like eczema can isolate a child from others and can make them the brunt of jokes, comments and bullying by other children. This is usually due to ignorance and/or a fear of this health condition since it shows up on the skin in a very visible manner. The biggest myth about eczema is that it is infectious.”
[bctt tweet=” This book tries to dispel that myth surrounding eczema.” username=”kidskintha”]”
Here are some additional recommendations from the author for enhanced reading of the book:
For the children who have eczema (depending on their age)
- Now that you have read the book and seen how Maya learned to cope with eczema with the help of her family, visualise yourself as a strong person just like her who has his/her eczema under control. What are the steps that you and your family can take which can lead you there? How and what help can you ask from your family and friends to help you get there?
- Discuss some of the ways that you can answer or deal with situations arising from other children’s ignorance of this condition.How can you educate them about eczema, what can you say that will help them to understand what you are going through?
For those children who don’t have eczema-
- Visualise yourself in Maya’s place, how would you feel if you had to dress differently, eat different kinds of foods, have restrictions on play etc.
- Also, if you had a brother or a sister who was suffering from this condition, how would you help? What would you say to encourage and support him/her? How would you stand up for him/her in case she was getting bullied/teased by someone in front of you?
“I have Eczema…So What” is a book that can redefine the way we take responsibility for chronic conditions in children. The book does a great job of shifting the focus from just the bearer of the condition and the immediate family and looks around to see what society can do to ease their burden too.
Anindita Guha is a certified Functional Medicine Health Coach from the US-based Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA), specializing in treating the root cause of any chronic autoimmune conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc by focusing on holistic interventions in diet and lifestyle. a specialised type of Health Coaching based on Functional Medicine principles of treating the root cause of any chronic condition whether it is eczema, psoriasis, other autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes type 2 etc. She also writes a blog called “eczema-anindianperspective.com” where she shares information to support others suffering from eczema.