In a burrow far away in Australia lived three wombats Brian, Brianna and Brie. The three wombats were the best of friends; together, they would sleep all day and munch on delicious grass all night. Sometimes, when Brian was feeling energetic, he would burrow for hours to create passages through the ground for the wombats to play hide and seek in.
Brian enjoyed digging so much that he would never stop to rest his paws. After digging for quite some time, Brian noticed that his paws were beginning to feel sore and were looking very cracked. He began to itch uncontrollably and his paws were now weeping.
That day, Brian just could not sleep, his skin felt very uncomfortable and he tossed and turned all day scratching at his fur. Brianna and Brie were feeling rather disturbed.
“What is going on Brian? Why are you scratching so much? Have you caught ants from all the digging?” Brianna asked Brian.
“I don’t think so, this is different to ants, my skin looks strange, it is dry and sore and itchy, and I can’t stop scratching!”
Brie suggested that Brian speak to the koala who lived just outside their burrow. Kevin the koala was very wise; he lived high in the tree so he could keep an eye on the bush. Kevin created many bush medicines from the environment.
“Kevin, wake up, I need your help”, Brian shouted to the top of the gum tree where Kevin was sleeping. Kevin muttered and grumpily climbed down the tree.
“What on earth would you need my help about at this time of day, I need to get my 23 hours of beauty sleep”.
“I am sorry to bother you Kevin but my skin is very itchy and looks funny, could you take a peep?”
Kevin looked at Brian’s hands. “I know what you have got, this appears to be eczema, or atopic dermatitis. The cockatoos often have this problem around springtime when they peck at pollen in the grass. Eczema is a condition that causes your skin to become angry and inflamed. This often makes the skin dry and itchy and scratching like you’ve been doing can lead to bleeding and put you at risk of infection.”
There are many triggers that cause eczema, they can be allergens from molds within the dirt for example or they can be irritants like the chemicals some of the humans use on their crops. Eczema can also happen if your immune system, which fights off nasty bugs so you don’t get sick, isn’t working it’s best. Eczema can also be genetic which means other members of your family may have had this problem too!
I think you need to avoid all the digging and treat your skin. There is no cure for eczema but I am very experienced in managing it”.
Kevin climbed back up the tree to grab a hand full of eucalyptus leaves. He chewed the leaves up into a paste and rubbed the paste on Brian’s hands.
“Here, this will help sooth your skin. By adding moisture and softening the skin, irritants and allergens won’t be able to come into the skin making it sore. You need to use my leaf paste regularly on your skin.
If your skin flares up, come back to see me and I can give you some tree sap. This is a much stronger medicine and the strength of this sap can be increased and decreased depending on how your skin is getting better.
The eucalyptus paste soothed and cooled Brian’s skin. He was so thankful to Kevin that he gave Kevin some special gems he had found while burrowing.
Brian went back to his burrow and Kevin climbed back up to his shady spot in the tree. They both fell asleep to avoid the scorching Australian bush sun.
For more information about eczema:
The Eczema Association of Australasia’s aim is to improve the life for those involved with Eczema through community representation and education.