Managing eczema in difficult scenarios

 


Managing eczema during certain situations can be difficult. Some children’s eczema flares during changing seasons due to many factors which may include changes in temperature, humidity and even allergies. Other’s may find their eczema flares during periods of stress.

Espere’s Guide to Managing Eczema in Difficult Scenarios

Summer Holidays

Keeping children with eczema comfortable, safe and healthy during the summer can be a real challenge.

Stay in the shade

Shaded areas will not only help your little one to reduce the need for sunscreen but is also very important when trying to stay cool in warm weather. When not in the shade it is important to wear a hat and cover-up as much as possible to protect delicate areas of skin from harmful UV rays.

Eczema friendly sun cream

We should all aim to wear sun cream outside, even on cloudy days. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for eczema sufferers as many common sun creams contain ingredients that can cause reactions in sensitive skin, such as parabens and fragrances.

Create a holiday checklist

If travelling for a few days, be sure to create a checklist of things to prepare before you go. It’s easy to forget things like ensuring you have enough prescribed medications for your trip or packing unusual items such as your own sheets and pillowcases if laundry detergent is a trigger.

Stay cool

Keeping common areas such as the car, living room and your child’s bedroom cool will help minimise skin irritation. DermaSilk TherapeuticClothing can help your child stay cool, even in warm places. It is made from sericin-free silk which is knitted so airflow is not restricted. This, unlike standard silk, allows free movement of air meaning overheating is prevented. It also has a greater ability to absorb and disperse moisture than cotton, making it a natural candidate for an atopic friendly fabric.


Christmas and Wintertime

Does your child’s eczema worsen in winter? Colder weather can aggravate eczema, extreme temperatures are a common cause of flare-ups. However, temperature isn’t the only reason eczema is triggered at this time of year.

Food Allergies

Ingredients that can trigger an eczema flare-up in some individuals such as cheese, milk, eggs, wheat and nuts are used year-round but are particularly popular at Christmas. It’s important to make sure friends and family are aware of your child’s triggers and that these foods are kept out of reach of kids wandering hands.

Clothing

Festive outfits such as Christmas jumpers and dressing up clothes are often made from fabrics that irritate sensitive skin. If these items are unavoidable aim to dress your child in a protective base layer of smooth fabric such as DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing. With DermaSilk you don’t need to worry about overheating when dressing in layers thanks to the way the sericin-free silk is knitted, allowing airflow between the fabric and the skin.

Christmas Trees

The needles on real Christmas trees can also be a trigger for eczema-prone skin. The oil terpene found in some plants, including natural Christmas trees can cause contact allergies. Artificial trees are a better alternative but be sure to wash them down to remove any reaction-triggering dust.

Central Heating

Many people overheat their homes in the winter. This reduces humidity and dries the skin. Not what you want with an eczema sufferer around. It’s still ok to have the heating on, but be careful not to turn the heat up too much when it’s cold outside. Instead, set the thermostat at a cool, comfortable temperature of around 20°C.

Christmas Presents

Toiletries are a popular Christmas gift but can contain many eczema-triggering ingredients that can dry out the skin. To avoid receiving gifts that may go to waste, agree with friends and family to share wish lists and create a list with your child that contains eczema safe products such as specific toiletries and clothing that you know is safe for your child, toys or even an experience day that you can enjoy as a family.


Stressful Periods

Anxiety and stress are common triggers of eczema flare-ups. This is because when we experience a stressful situation, the brain sends a distress signal which causes the body to enter fight or flight mode, prompting the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. Too much cortisol can suppress the immune system and cause an inflammatory response in the skin, which is bad news for children with eczema.

Identifying potential areas of stress in your child’s life can be a good place to start in helping find ways to prevent it from having a detrimental effect on their eczema. These may include:

School

Exams, teasing or bullying, social situations

Changes to Home Life

Separation anxiety, moving home, changes to family structure, loss in the family, family conflicts

Specific Fears and Phobias

Animals, insects, storms, heights, water, blood, the dark

Signs of Stress or Anxiety in Children:

  • become irritable, tearful, or clingy
  • have difficulty sleeping
  • wake in the night
  • start wetting the bed
  • have bad dreams
  • lack confidence to try new things
  • seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have problems with sleeping or eating
  • have angry outbursts
  • have a lot of negative thoughts
  • start avoiding everyday activities

 

How to Help

Talking

It’s important to start by talking with your child to understand as much as possible about their stress or anxiety. Reassure them and show them you understand how they feel.

Education

If your child is old enough, talking to them about what anxiety is and its physical effects can be a helpful step in teaching them to recognise signs of stress and anxiety in themselves, so they will be able to manage their symptoms or ask for help when they need it.

Relaxation

Practising relaxation techniques are an excellent way of dealing with stress. These may include deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mediation, visualisation, self-massage and rhythmic movement.

Distraction

Distraction can be a useful way for young children to manage stress and anxiety. You may want to try listening to music, cuddling with pets, exercise, reading, watching TV or drawing.

To learn more about how DermaSilk can help with eczema visit our website.


Espère's guide to eczema flare-ups

 



Eczema affects everyone differently. One person’s triggers may not be the same as another’s. Your child might experience eczema symptoms at certain times of the year or in different areas of their body.

A GP will work with you both to establish what might trigger the eczema flare-ups, although it may get better or worse for no obvious reason. When trying to identify potential triggers, keep in mind that an eczema flare can appear sometime after exposure.

There are several things that may trigger your eczema symptoms. These can vary from person to person.

Common triggers include:

  • irritants such as soaps and detergents
  • environmental factors or allergens 
  • food allergies 
  • certain materials are worn next to the skin 
  • hormonal changes
  • skin infections
  • changes in temperature or humidity

Avoid Triggers

Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid them. 

For example:

  • if certain fabrics irritate your skin, avoid wearing these and stick to soft, fine-weave clothing or natural materials such as sericin-free silk. DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing is clinically proven to calm sensitive skin in adults and children. The smooth fabric is ideal for eczema sufferers and the bonded antimicrobial reduces bacterial contamination, keeping the fabric clean and fresh – perfect for soothing and preventing flare ups.
  • if heat aggravates your eczema, keep the rooms in your home cool, especially the bedroom. Light, breathable fabrics are most likely to prevent itching. DermaTherapy’s antimicrobial, micro-fibre sheets reduce bacteria and wick away excessive heat and moisture. In addition, DermaTherapy fabrics are woven from a strong, continuous-filament yarn that creates a consistently smooth, silk-like surface. Friction with the skin is reduced, minimising irritation, resulting in a superior quality of sleep.
  • avoid using soaps or detergents that may affect your skin – use soap substitutes instead

Emollients

In addition to making the skin feel less dry, emollients may also have a mild anti-inflammatory role and can help reduce the number of flare-ups you have. Emollients have a very important role not only in treating flare-ups but actually working to prevent them in the first place. Eczema is a very personal condition, so it may take a while to find an emollient that suits your child best. They come in a wide variety of forms: creams, ointments, lotions, gels and sprays, each suit different situations, body parts and of course, personal preference.

During a flare-up, your child may require a larger amount of emollient applied more frequently. When using DermaSilk alongside emollients, ensure the emollient cream is applied in a thin layer, in the direction the hair grows and wait before applying topical steroids or putting on DermaSilk garments. Watch our application demonstration video.

Topical Corticosteroids

Topical corticosteroids came in many forms, most eczema treatments come as creams or lotions. They are used on the skin to treat swelling, itching and irritation, and work by acting inside the skin cells to stop the release of the chemicals that cause swelling, redness and itching.

When using a topical corticosteroid:

  • apply your emollient first and ideally, wait around 30 minutes until the emollient has soaked into your skin, or apply the corticosteroid at a different time of day (such as night)
  • apply the recommended amount of the topical corticosteroid to the affected area
  • continue to use it until 48 hours after the flare-up has cleared so the inflammation under the skin surface is treated

Antihistamines

If itching during a flare-up affects your sleep, a GP may suggest taking a sedating antihistamine.

Sedating antihistamines can cause drowsiness into the following day, so it may be helpful to let your child's school know they may not be as alert as normal.

Always follow your GP or Dermatologist’s recommendations when it comes to prescription medication.

To learn more about how DermaSilk can help with eczema visit our website.

3 top tips for teaching your child to manage eczema at school

 




In the early years of your child’s life, it’s likely you’ll know about eczema flare-ups as they develop, but when they get to an age where you’re less involved in helping them bathe or get changed you’ll have less awareness of how eczema is affecting them. Around the age of 4 or 5, it’s important to encourage your child to learn how to identify their eczema flare-ups and begin to teach them about the treatments and how to apply moisturisers. By the time your child is 8 or 9, they should be able to recognise when their eczema needs attention and be able to apply, or ask you to apply, emollient at an early stage.  They should be able to be a little more proactive in treating their own skin, including taking moisturiser into school if needed. If they know a particular activity is likely to aggravate their skin they can begin to help themselves.  

 

Top tips for managing eczema at school:

1.      Awareness

Start with discussing your child’s eczema treatment plan and any triggers with the school as early as possible. A teacher who is familiar with your child’s needs can help with the practical aspects of the condition as well as any social or emotional issues that may arise in the classroom.

2.      School eczema kit

You can make handling eczema at school easier by putting together a kit with everything, your child may need during the school day. Keep a school pack to hand containing:

  •        Moisturising cream/ointment
  •         Alcohol-free soap and sanitiser
  •         Antibiotics
  •         Bandages
  •         Gloves/protective clothing
  •         A list of medication and triggers

3.      Uniforms 

Clothing made from irritating fabrics such as wool can exacerbate the itching associated with eczema. Wearing base layers of soothing, non-irritating fabrics such as sericin-free silk such as DermaSilk. DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing is clinically proven to calm sensitive skin in adults and children. The smooth fabric is ideal for eczema sufferers and the bonded antimicrobial reduces bacterial contamination, keeping the fabric clean and fresh – perfect for soothing and preventing flare-ups.

 

To learn more about how DermaSilk can help with eczema visit our website.