A mum is begging for help for her two-year-old son whose eczema is so bad he doesn’t sleep for more than four hours a night – and she once had to call 999.
Theo Burchell didn’t develop the skin condition until he was six months old – but within weeks it had covered all his limbs, his entire body and even his face.
His mum Hannah, 26, said the tot is in so much pain he regularly claws at his own skin until it bleeds, and strangers have even asked his parents if he’s a burns victim.
Heartbroken Hannah said he never sleeps for more than four hours a night because of the pain, and he needs constantly soothed to get some shut eye.
She’s tried dozen of lotions and steroid creams but nothing has worked, and she’s desperate for a cure before he starts school, over fears he’ll be bullied.
Mum-of-two Hannah, from Bristol, said: “To see him suffering like that breaks my heart. I was sobbing.
“He wakes up during the night screaming for help.
“We are up with him four or five times every night. He barely sleeps. He gets no more than a couple of hours every night.
“It’s horrific. It has taken a part of his childhood away from him. He is missing out on a lot.
“It has just taken over his life.”
Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked, and while the cause is unknown, it’s often triggered by things like soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
When Theo first developed eczema at six months old it started as just patches of red rash, and Hannah took him to the GP in March 2017.
She was advised to moisture Theo’s skin and told eczema is normal, but his developed into huge areas of agonising scabs covering his body.
She said she visits his GP up to twice a month and has been repeatedly prescribed different creams, which have had little or no impact on his condition.
Hannah said: “He was just getting worse. It got to the point where he was waking up to scratch and he was making his skin bleed.
“He was constantly itching and it stopped him being able to do most things. We tried to dress him in long sleeve clothes to stop him but it didn’t work.”
In September last year Theo was referred to a dermatologist at Bristol Children’s Hospital, who prescribed steroid cream.
But even this didn’t cure the rashes, which later that month developed into eczema herpeticum – an extreme form usually caused by the herpes virus.
When his blisters flare up, Theo screams in agony, and Hannah had to dial 999 for help, last year.
He was rushed to hospital in Bristol, where he spent five days receiving antiviral medication.
She said: “We had no option but to phone 999. He was screaming ‘help, help, it hurts”, said bar worker Hannah.
“His skin was seeping and his clothes were sticking to him. He couldn’t catch his breath he was screaming that much.
“The blisters were oozing and he was inconsolable. He was crying so much he couldn’t swallow and could barely breathe.
“They had to give him morphine in the ambulance he was in that much pain. It had me in tears to see him like that.
“He didn’t move for days in hospital. He’s usually such a happy and on-the-go child but he was really down.”
He now sleeps in the same room as his parents and needs to be comforted every night in order to get to sleep.
Hannah said: “He’s so frightened and wakes up screaming in a panic. When he’s up in the night he would just scratch more.
“It has left us constantly exhausted and it is emotionally draining.
”His skin is really rough and covered in scabs. He screams ‘stop’ when we put the cream on because it’s too painful.”
Theo attends a play group but his condition is stopping him from being able to go along to play centres with friends.
Hannah says people have asked her “what’s wrong” with Theo, who has even been mistaken for a burn victim in public, she claims.
Theo’s condition is yet to improve and Hannah says she feels as though they are running out of treatment options.
Theo is due to start school in September 2012, and Hannah says she’s worried Theo might be bullied by other children if his condition doesn’t improve.
Hannah, who lives with Lee, 36, a self-employer driver, and his five-week-old brother, Bobby, said: “I have no idea if he will be able to manage at school. What if he doesn’t stop scratching and what if he gets bullied?
“It has stopped him from seeing friends but we are trying to treat him as a normal child. He loves being outside to play.
“But he has no idea why he is in so much pain. It’s upsetting to see.”