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The sun’s not the culprit, the sunscreen is.

standard May 25, 2009 7 responses

On Tuesday when I blogged about Little L’s latest health drama I was at my wits end. I played it off all cool and collected, but inside I was struggling. I mean, it’s one thing to want to always protect your children, but when the sun is the thing hurting them, the challenge is more than a bit daunting.

Lucky for me I have an awesome older sister who, despite being completely swamped with a huge move and her own life, is one of my most faithful readers. She read my post and emailed me right away to remind me that my oldest niece, her oldest daughter, had suffered from a similar issue when she was little. Only it wasn’t the sun she was allergic to, it was the sunscreen.

That’s right, the sunscreen, which I had diligently been applying to every single nook and cranny of my poor baby’s body. My baby is allergic to sunscreen of all things.

In an effort to protect my baby from what I thought was hurting her I was in fact coating her carefully in the stuff that was doing the damage. Figuring that out was bittersweet to say the least. It was a huge relief to finally know what was wrong and what we could do to fix it, but it was horrible to know that I was the one inflicting such pain.

On my sister’s recommendation I invested a small fortune in Mustela products, specially formulated for extremely sensitive and irritated skin, and I started tracking down non-chemical sunscreens and sun protective clothing. After five days of daily baths with the magic soap and twice daily slathering of the miracle lotion, Little L is no longer covered in little red dots and her skin no longer feels scaly. Which is good, because ew. Even better she no longer screams when I put her in the tub, nor does she scratch her belly while plaintively moaning “ouchie.”

Tomorrow we’re going to be taking the non-chemical sunscreen for it’s first test drive, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m not feeling nauseous at the thought. If I could protect her from the sun without ever using sunscreen again I’d be much happier, but all that sun protective clothing is hot, and it’s just not always the most practical option. So tomorrow I’m going to pull out Little L’s new unbelievably expensive sunscreen and I’m going to close my eyes and apply it to her skin while uttering a million wishes that she doesn’t react to it, or the sun, or anything else she comes into contact with, so we can get on with the important tasks of summer, like playing in the pool, going for walks, or hanging at the beach.

First there was asthma, then there was more.

standard May 20, 2009 7 responses

I have been anxiously waiting for summer to arrive. Summer was going to be our salvation from the horrible winter germs and viruses that have plagued us since December. Summer was going to release us from the grip of asthma anxiety. Summer was going to rawk.

Until Little L started getting rashes.

The first time she broke out in little red dots all over her body I assumed that she was reacting to an afternoon spent rolling around in the grass. C sometimes has a bad reaction to grass. Whatever, it’s nothing, goes away after a quick bath.

Little L’s spots didn’t clear up after a bath. In fact, they got worse. Then she got a fever, so I assumed it was just another virus. But the next time she was out in the sun she broke out again. And the time after. And yes, the time after that too.

It turns out she’s not allergic to grass, she’s allergic to sun. OK, fine, maybe allergic is a strong word. She’s what they call photosensitive – her skin doesn’t react well to exposure to the sun, any exposure at all.

According to her doctor she’s not in any danger and she should outgrow this condition. Her helpful advice is to just keep Little L out of the sun, which, living in California, is definitely easier said than done. I’ve purchased a number of long sleeved, SPF swim body suits and I’m stocking up on sunscreen, not that it’s doing any good at all. And after a couple days of completely and utterly freaking out about this newest twist, I’m coming to grips with it.

This is Little L. She has quirky medical issues. None of them are all that dire. They’re just tedious, and time consuming, and yes, potentially bad, or they would be if we hadn’t noticed them right away and taken steps to protect her from herself. In the winter we will load up on asthma and cold medicine and in the summer we’ll stock up on protective clothing and sunscreen. And we’ll stop saying things like “Yay summer is coming! Relief is almost here” because now we know for a fact that Karma reads my blog and she’s taking notes, and really, we don’t need to give her any extra ammo.