Mum begs for help as son ‘screams in agony’ and can’t sleep more than 4 hours

A mum says her two-year-old son's skin condition is so bad he 'screams out in agony' and is unable to sleep for more than four hours at night.

Theo Burchell developed the skin condition at six months old – and within weeks it had covered his entire body and even his face.

Mum Hannah, 26, once called 999 because of her son's painful eczema , says his skin is so raw he was once mistaken for a burns victim.

Hannah says he is in so much pain he claws at his own skin until it bleeds and needs to be constantly soothed to get to sleep.

The bar worker and mum-of-two said: "To see him suffering like that breaks my heart. 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."

Despite trying dozens of lotions and steroid creams to treat the chronic itchy condition, which causes the skin to become red, dry and cracked, nothing has worked.

When his blisters flare up Hannah says Theo screams in agony and it got so bad last year she had to dial 999 for help, causing him to be hospitalised.

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'.

"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."

Theo 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."

Hannah says people often ask what is wrong with her son, who has even been mistaken for a burns victim.

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 says she feels as though they are running out of treatment options.

Hannah, who lives with Lee, 36, a self-employer driver, and Theo's 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."

Theo attends a play group but his condition is stopping him from being able to go along to play centres with friends.

While the cause of eczema is unknown, it's often triggered by things like soaps, detergents, stress and even 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.

His mum was advised to moisturise Theo's skin and told eczema is normal, but he soon developed huge, agonising scabs covering his body.

Hannah 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.

Theo was referred to a dermatologist at Bristol Children's Hospital in September last year and was 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.

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