KAREN Fischer's daughter Ayva was two weeks old when she developed spots on her face that resembled acne. The creases of her elbows and knees were red and weeping, and she would often scratch until her arms bled.
Slowly she became allergic to simple, everyday activities such as playing on the grass, swimming in a pool or patting the family cat.
Ayva had eczema and Karen, an ex-model, TV presenter and nutritionist was determined to do something about it.
She started researching eczema and, by the time she was two, had devised a basic diet and supplement routine for her.
Soon it was working so well that her daughter could take part in other activities that children her age enjoyed, she says.
"Research shows eczema sufferers spend up to $2000 on eczema treatments each year and 36% of sufferers spend more than 10 minutes a day applying topical steroids and emollients," says Karen.
"Despite this, the number of people with eczema is rising and has tripled in recent years.
"Now 20% of people in the developed world have eczema."
Karen has written about her own experiences as well as her nutritional advice in The Eczema Diet, eczema-safe food to stop the itch and prevent eczema for life.
Some of her recommendations:
- Avoid consuming artificial additives including food colourings, preservatives and flavour enhancers.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in water, soaking them for several minutes and using a soft scrubbing brush.
- Avoid sulphite-rich foods and drinks including dried fruits and alcohol.
- Supplement with antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid.
- Increase omega-3 intake by eating oily fish once or twice a week and eat linseed/flaxseed or use flaxseed oil five times a week.
- Greatly reduce omega-6 in the diet.
- Reduce stress, worry and anxiety.
Before beginning the diet, it is important to have your skin condition diagnosed by a GP or dermatologist, says Karen.
"If you have any medical conditions that are being treated with diet or drugs, you should follow the diet with the supervision of your doctor, nutritionist or dietitian."
Obviously some people may prefer to go the purely medical route. However, The Eczema Diet gives those who suffer from this skin condition another option.
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