Living with eczema is hard as an adult, it can be painful, annoying and even debilitating and one of the only things harder when it comes to eczema than living with it yourself is caring for a child who suffers from it. As with any illness, disease or disability it is difficult to watch your child suffer, it is difficult to know when they are in pain especially if they can’t yet tell you themselves and it is difficult to watch as they become aware of how they look different to the other children around them.
But then, there is very little about parenting that is easy.
As a parent all we ever want is the best for our children and to help them as much as we can. Which is why when it comes to helping children cope with eczema it is important that we all share tips and advice on the tings that work for us and so as this week, 17th September 2018 – 21st September 2018, is National eczema week I thought I would share some of our families top tips with you in the hope that some of these may help you bring some comfort to your child as they learn to live with and manage their eczema.
5 Top Tips
Reduce or manage stress levels
Some people believe that stress can result in eczema flare ups and as much as we would love to say our children live stress free lives this isn’t always the case. There are pressures from school with tests and getting used to the routine and structure and even the very nature of being separated from their family whilst at school, as well as stress caused by making new friends or keeping up with those they already have. By trying to encourage your child to talk openly about their day and about their feelings can help to reduce their stress levels dramatically. Introducing your child to calming practices like mindfulness and children’s yoga can also have positive effects on their stress levels too, not to mention become life long skills they can go on to use into their teenager and adult years.
Take warm baths
Baths are a good way to enjoy some relief from the itching, burning, and pain that one can get from eczema however it is better if the bath is not hot but instead warm and if you limit the time spent in it to about 10-15 minutes. It is also advisable to avoid using bubble baths and fragranced products which can be hard when your child wants to use them but you have to think about the long term consequences and stick to plain water and fragrance free products.
Use the same products
Find the products that don’t cause a flare up and stick to them, this includes bath products, shampoos, conditioners and even washing powders. It sounds simple yet people seem to want to swap and change a lot and it can be tempting to buy new brands when they are on offer but this can cause a flare up and that can be painful for your child. With this in mind as your child grows and wants to stay at friends and families houses explain to them the situation and send your own products where possible and ask them not to wash your child’s clothes but to send the laundry home, often grandparents will think they are helping but if their detergent is different to yours this could be more of a hindrance than a help.
Keep the skin cool
Try and dress your child in, or if older encourage them to wear, loose fitting clothes that are made from breathable materials whenever possible. Tight clothing can increase the likely hood of sweating which can lead to itching and discomfort and certain materials like wool can irritate the skin. Having fresh air surround the skin can help toreduce the symptoms of eczema.
Find the right treatment or cream
When someone is first diagnosed with eczema the doctor will prescribe a variety of creams and lotions and you will also have the opportunity to buy alternatives from the shops yourself. As with most illnesses different people will respond to different products in different ways and unfortunately it can be a case of trail and error for you and your child but once a treatment that works has been found the relief will be worth it. Oilatum is an emollient that softens, soothes and mousturises the skin without creating further reactions and is favoured by a lot of families. If you haven’t already found your go to cream then I would recommend that you give this a try, there are a few variations including the Oilatum junior which is designed specifically for children and is available in boots.
If you have any additional tips I would love to hear them.
This post was written in collaboration with Oilatum.