September is Eczema Awareness Month and the time of year school term starts back and many households will be adapting to a new routine for children starting or returning to school.
With all the excitement and preparation, we are mindful of the children out there with eczema and what this might mean for them.
Some practical tips which may be of benefit:
- Try to have established a daily bath and emollient regime and continue this routine to aid sleep and prevent flares at this exciting and possibly stress inducing time. If your child is prescribed topical steroids, ensure they are used correctly and step up treatment if flares occur as advised by your doctor.
- Aim to buy 100% cotton clothes, especially for garments that are directly in contact with the skin. Some online eczema clothing sites sell cotton shirts and trousers which can sometimes be hard to buy in local shops. When buying socks and tights, again be mindful of a high cotton content as opposed to synthetic fabrics.
- Advise the teacher that your child has eczema. Forewarned is forearmed! This way the teacher can know in advance for instance that it might suit your child to sit in a cooler part of the classroom as opposed to in direct sunlight or beside a radiator. If they are feeling hot or itchy, a gentle reminder to take off a jumper may help. Explain that your child needs to avoid using soap when washing hands and provide some emollient that they can apply themselves in school. If there is a sand table as there often is in the junior classes, ask the teacher to suggest rinsing hands after the activity.
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Establish a daily bath and emollient routine. Aim to buy 100% cotton clothes. Advise teachers your child has eczema – and provide them with the information they need!
- Some children might itch and scratch out of habit or if feeling anxious or insecure. If the teacher knows about this, they might help with distraction techniques to break the cycle.
- For older children, be aware that activity and sweating can exacerbate itch. If there is an opportunity to shower after exercise, encourage your child to do this.
Over time, most children with eczema will begin to take responsibility for their own skincare. If they know there is support both at home and at school, it will make the transition easier for both child and parents.
For more information about eczema, visit our Eczema section to download our booklet, what you need to know about eczema or contact the ISF Helpline for one-to-one information and support on childhood eczema or other childhood skin diseases.