With all the trials and tribulations of a growing family, managing eczema in children is not a welcome addition. Children with eczema present a whole new litany of challenges beyond the normal ones.
If you are a newcomer to this challenge, here are some tips on how to manage eczema in children and help to make life a little more manageable for you too.
The Big Picture Of Eczema
The first thing to understand is that eczema is not contagious. It is not necessary to keep children home from school or keep them from participating in other activities. Of course the red, itchy, and swollen skin associated with eczema may cause your child to be wary of going to school for other reasons, but no one can obtain eczema from just being around your child.
In many cases eczema is caused by genetics, meaning someone in the family has had it, or still does. It can also be a result of the environment, and although it does NOT come from a food allergy, certain foods can make it worse. Eggs, milk, nuts, soy and wheat are common food triggers to cause a flare up.
Where To Start
As a parent, the first place to start is to discover what things trigger your child’s eczema. Anything that aggravates your child’s skin, causes the eczema to appear, or makes it worse is a trigger and must be mitigated. It’s imperative to calm the skin so it won’t become worse and spread. Each child may have different triggers. and they can change as they get older.
Some common triggers include:
- Mold, pet dander, pollen, and dust
- Scratchy or coarse fabrics like wool
- Makeup, moisturizers, colognes and other skin care products that contain alcohol
- Sweating or getting overheated
The Next Step
The next step is to avoid the triggers and help your child understand them once they reach a certain age. At the same time, develop everyday habits that will avoid and manage triggers and help to ease your child’s sensitive skin.
A few things that can help manage these triggers are as follows:
- Only use scent-free and color-free products such as laundry detergents, soaps, fabric softeners.
- Dress your child in loose fitting clothing avoiding polyester and concentrating on cottons, and wash new clothes before they are worn.
- If they must wear uniforms at gym or sporting activities, cut out the tags and cover the seams with silk.
- Avoid hot water for bathing or showering. Instead use warm water and pat dry the wet skin.
- Inform teachers that your child has eczema.
- Try to pair your child with other kids that have eczema to relieve some of the stress of going to school. There are support groups for both parents and kids as well as parental conferences and camps for children through the National Eczema Association.
- Keep your child’s skin moisturized as much as possible. 2-3 times a day is recommended to avoid dry skin and lock in moisture. Petroleum jelly is a good choice.
- Help your child avoid getting overheated by encouraging them to drink lots of water.
- Use over the counter medications and any prescription meds consistently to help curb any symptoms.
Since there are several kinds of eczema, it it best to see your Mystic Valley Dermatology Associates to diagnose the exact type and provide the proper treatment.
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (781) 438-6350 today!