Family

Real life: I bathe my toddler in bleach to help his eczema

It's the only way to help him.

By Brittany Smith

Chelsea Atkins, 31, from Rockingham, WA, shares her true life story;

I stumbled through the darkness, racing towards my screaming baby boy.

He wailed as I burst into his bedroom and flicked on the light.

My stomach twisted seeing his blood-soaked pyjamas.

An angry red rash covered his arms and face.

"Shhhhh," I soothed, gently cradling him. "Stop scratching, little man."

Braxton, 14 months, had been in agony for eight months, suffering from severe eczema.

It left him with a swollen face, watery eyes and a terribly itchy rash.

Despite the mittens we kept on his hands, he scratched until he made himself bleed.

I'd never been through anything like it with my three older kids.

My partner, Shane, and I took Braxton to the doctors every week but they always just prescribed a new steroid cream to try.

"Nothing's working," I argued.

I was beginning to wonder if it was something more than just eczema.

With case, Braxton's rashes have improved.**Pictures exclusive to Take 5**
With case, Braxton's rashes have improved.Pictures exclusive to Take 5

But every doctor refused to take a blood test because of the trauma it could cause Braxton.

I was at my wits' end.

When we moved to a new suburb closer to Shane's work and Braxton suffered another flare up, I rushed him to the local hospital.

This time, I wasn't taking no for an answer.

"You have to do something," I begged as Braxton cried in my arms. "There's something else wrong here."

Thankfully, this doctor agreed and a month later she booked us in for a blood test.

Tears filled my eyes as two nurses held Braxton down and took four vials of blood.

He screamed but in the end it was more traumatic for me.

Three days later, his results came back.

He gets itchy welts on his skin. **Pictures exclusive to Take 5**
He gets itchy welts on his skin. Pictures exclusive to Take 5

"You were right," the doctor admitted. "It wasn't just eczema. It turns out Braxton has a lot of allergies."

My heart sank as we read through the results.

Gluten, egg whites, dairy, fish, nuts and dust mites... the list seemed endless!

"He's allergic to everything," I cried. "What will we do?"

I'd been desperate for answers but now I just had more questions.

We were sent to an allergist and nutritionist to learn how to help our son.

His dust mite allergy was the most severe and we had to buy a powerful vacuum cleaner to make sure our house was spotless at all times.

I started vacuuming every morning and changing Braxton's bed sheets twice daily.

His diet was restricted to fresh fruit, vegies and rice milk, and slowly his rash became less severe.

A year has passed and dealing with Braxton's allergies is an ongoing battle.

He bathes in bleach twice a week to clean out his scabs, and we put five different creams on him every day.

His poor little feet suffer badly. **Pictures exclusive to Take 5**
His poor little feet suffer badly. Pictures exclusive to Take 5

It's heartbreaking to see Braxton's life so restricted.

He can't play in the sandpit with other kids or hunt for chocolate eggs at Easter.

On his second birthday we made an eight-litre jelly cake, because he wouldn't be able to eat a real one.

We're finally seeing a paediatric immunologist and I'm crossing all my fingers that they'll be able to help us even more.

All I want is for Braxton to have the freedom to play like a normal toddler and live his life to the fullest.

Make sure to consult your doctor before treating your child

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