With two school-aged kids and two working parents in the home, life is more than a little bit busy. There are battles over homework and chores. There are busy weeks when we get take-out so often our 6 year-old son asks, “where’s dinner coming from tonight mom?” There’s the constant pull of wanting to sit on the floor and play with the kids, or run alongside them as they ride their bikes. There’s the constant dinging of smartphone alerts, a running list of to-do items that don’t get done in a day, calls from the school for volunteering, late-night calls from clients scheduled purposely so the kids will be in bed. I run my own business, and know I need to hire more help, but can’t decide if it’s more important to hire a housekeeper/nanny, a secretary, or someone in marketing or sales.

My life is a constant balancing act. Often, the little blips of a cough, an allergy flare, or a mysterious rash cost me money and time. I love my kids. I just can’t be there to hand my son a tissue every time he sneezes. Tissue choice doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, unless your little red-headed kid has incredibly sensitive skin and is prone to eczema.

Every fall, the schools require that we send certain supplies into the classroom. Every child must bring in a box of crayons, a package of dry erase markers, a box of tissues, packs of glue sticks, etc., to fill the classroom closet. The well-intending teacher keeps a box of tissues on her desk for the kids to use when needed. It’s been a long winter in the Midwest, and they’ve gone through their entire supply of tissues, and then asked for more. I think most parents just grab a box – any box – off the shelf of their local discount store without a second thought. Or maybe they think of all those little runny noses getting sore, so they buy tissues with lotion, the nice, thick, soft, pastel colored tissues sure to make any little kid feel a little better.

Any little kid but mine that is, who somehow breaks out into a hideous rash every time he uses these tissues. He was actually sent home from preschool due to this rash, and not allowed to return until we’d seen our pediatrician to confirm that it wasn’t contagious. Even after getting a clean bill of health, we’d get dirty looks from parents who didn’t want their kids exposed to such a puffy, blistered nose. I’m a pretty gentle person, but this makes me want to scream at their good-for-nothing fancy tissues that caused my son pain, that made me take one or two days away from work to get a doctor’s appointment. This, in the age of nut-free schools, the age of smartphones filled with apps that track our every move. There must be an easier way to get my child’s many rashes treated without taking precious waking hours away from all the other demands of work and life (not to mention, the need to pick up my other kid from school by 3:15). This is why I downloaded the First Derm app. Because it’s a free safety net. Within 24 hours, a real doctor will look at my kid’s rash and recommend the same over-the-counter treatment our doctor would for the cost of a co-pay. For the cost of that co-pay I get peace of mind, and my son’s rash improves, but it’s as easy as taking a picture of the rash, and sending it in. I don’t have to take time off work. I don’t even have to leave my house.

Next year, I’ve arranged to supply the first grade classroom with tissues for the year. Soft tissues, thick tissues, but with no lotions or perfumes. In the mean time – and for all the other rashes my little guy is sure to get – I have First Derm.

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