KWEZI AND I: Unexpected conditions

There is something about diseases or infections that you literally know nothing about. I don’t remember a case of eczema anywhere when I was growing up, neither did I know of any serious allergies, except for a kid in our neighbourhood whose skin would get big bumps from just eating meat.

So it really has been hard for me to deal with Kwezi’s eczema. In more developed countries, you get to know your child’s allergies almost as soon as they are born. It is a different story in Africa. At first, I thought that it was a particular diaper brand that she didn’t agree with but when she started scratching to a point when she would draw blood, I knew that there was a problem. The bad news is that the people who suffer from this condition cannot enjoy some finger-licking food, like peanut sauce, dairy products and some spices, among others. Now if you really know me and my love for food, I would have said voila, more for me but when it comes to Kwezi, I make exceptions. I wonder if this is because none of the things on the list include meat but that is a story for another day.

The good news if that eczema is manageable but there are many times when you find yourself trying different things until you get what works. Sometimes we have had to throw out the idea of bathing soap, other times we have thrown out using Vaseline. There are other times when we have to stop using a particular detergent. It’s a constant work in progress.

Last week, I think we started dealing with what I personally think is the biggest attack; for lack of a better word, that she has had in years. She has been scratching nonstop and showering is becoming a difficult process because when the water comes into contact with her bruises from scratching, Kwezi’s pain can be felt in her sobs and hissing sounds.

We have now cut out yoghurt, we have changed the cooking oil and I am visiting the pharmacy to buy her some new soap and Vaseline today. As I write this, I have also made an appointment with a dermatologist for the end of this month to look at her condition and advise accordingly.

For now, we will try to adjust clothing, feeding and general lifestyle because her allergy may be a result of anything, including the quality of the water that she is showering. We hope that this does not become a permanent thing and she gets around to outgrowing it as that is a possibility.

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