Mother shares the agony of strangers stopping to stare at her little boy in disgust

A heartbroken mother has shared pictures of her son who has eczema so bad it looks like he’s burned.

She says strangers accuse her toddler of being contagious due to his painful skin condition.

Ines Mended, pictured with mother Gabriel, three, says her son first started developing rashes when he was a month old


Ines Mended, pictured with mother Gabriel, three, says her son first started developing rashes when he was a month oldPhoto credit: Kennedy News
Now Gabriel's eczema is so bad it looks like he's burned


Now Gabriel’s eczema is so bad it looks like he’s burnedPhoto credit: Kennedy News
"Often you can see that he wants to cry, but he bears it," said Mama Ines


“You can often see that he wants to cry, but he can bear it,” said Mama InesPhoto credit: Kennedy News

Three-year-old Gabriel Quintinhas, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has been suffering from eczema since he was a month old.

His mother Ines Mendes says it started with rashes and her only son looked “ruddy and pink”.

But things got really bad when Gabriel was about five months old.

“It looked like he was injured, he was all cut open. It was sore. He was in pain,” said Ines.

Now strangers on the street look at Gabriel with “disgust”.

“People stare and comment quite a bit. When we go for a walk, people stare and look with a disgusting face.”

Ines said she tries to ignore it.

“It’s hard, it’s difficult and it’s heartbreaking how people are reacting.”

But it’s not just foreign looks that Gabriel and Mama Ines are struggling with.

“People I don’t even know have said it’s contagious. I say it’s ridiculous and not contagious. It’s a skin condition and it’s not his fault.”

The 21-year-old decided not to send the tot to daycare as she was concerned about how other children would react to his skin.

“I’m worried about bullying,” said Ines.

“He didn’t really hang out with any other kids, aside from close friends.”

She wets Gabriel four times a day, but the tot is still in a lot of pain.

“He always cries in pain,” said Ines.

“He’s upset about his looks.”

eczema – also known as dermatitis – is a non-contagious, inflammatory dry skin condition.

The most common form, atopic eczema, affects one in five children and one in 10 adults in the UK.

How can I treat eczema?

Eczema causes areas of the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore.

You may have periods when symptoms improve, followed by flare-ups that can occur 2 or 3 times a month.

Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, but is most common on the hands (especially the fingers), the insides of the elbows, or the backs of the knees.

Children often get it on the face and scalp.

Although there is no cure for eczema, certain treatments can relieve symptoms. Common ones are:

  • plasticizer (Moisturizers) – used daily to prevent the skin from drying out
  • topical corticosteroids – Creams and ointments to reduce swelling and redness during flare-ups
  • topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus for eczema on sensitive areas unresponsive to simpler treatments
  • antihistamines with severe itching
  • Bandages or special body suits to allow the body to heal underneath
  • A dermatologist can offer more effective treatments

When it comes to self-care, it’s best not to scratch itchy areas (although it can be tempting) as this will damage the skin.

Instead, try gently rubbing your skin with your fingers, NHS guidance recommends. Keep your nails clean and short.

For babies, non-scratch mittens can prevent them from scratching their skin.

The NHS also advises you to identify your triggers – such as certain irritants, heat, soaps and detergents – to avoid them.

The mother took Gabriel to a specialist in London when he started showing symptoms of eczema.

The doctor could not find a solution, but suspected that the condition was genetic.

Since then, Ines has been desperately looking for a treatment to relieve the symptoms after trying countless creams.

She approached a doctor in Portugal in January, who recommended a natural cream made from plants.

“It’s getting worse, but apparently that’s normal before it gets better,” Ines said of her son’s eczema.

“He looks pretty bad.”

“We tried creams.

“Nothing works, we tried everything we could.”

Ines is Fundraising £1,600 to pay for the natural creams recommended by the Portuguese doctor.

She says that Gabriel cries in pain every day and she dreads having to send him to school where she fears he will be bullied.

Ines said: “He can talk so now we understand how bad it is because he says he’s in pain and he asks if he can scratch himself.”

She continued: “It’s hard when he gets upset, I try everything I can to help him.

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“Often you can see that he wants to cry, but he bears it.

It won’t be easy to send him to school, but I have to.”

Ines fears that children will bully Gabriel at school


Ines fears that children will bully Gabriel at schoolPhoto credit: Kennedy News Mother shares the agony of strangers stopping to stare at her little boy in disgust

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