Helping Children With Eczema Stop Scratching At Night
Often known as the “itch that rashes” rather than the “rash that itches”, eczema is a condition that causes the person’s skin to be excessively itchy, red, and inflamed. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is usually triggered by different chemicals and factors within the patient’s environment. It can be cured by oral medication and topic medication but it can flare up again after a couple of weeks or months. The affected area becomes thicker and more sensitive if it is regularly scratched, later on worsening to develop into blisters and skin lesions with watery discharges.
In turn, a person with eczema tends to scratch the affected part to relieve the itch but then the actual physical scratching increases the redness and the inflammation of the affected part. This unending itch-scratch cycle simply aggravates the situation as it disrupts the healing process and also provokes the itchy sensation that triggers the scratch in the first place.
In children, eczema commonly affects the areas of the body with visual skin folds, such as behind the knees, the insides of elbows, on the neck and nape area, and around the eyes and ears. With a lot of the problem areas being exposed and uncovered by regular clothing, kids have a high chance of having their affected areas to be scratched all day long - be it in school, in the park, or even at home. The worst might just be during nighttime when the little ones are going to sleep and all they can think about is their itchy skin.
The biggest obstacle for childhood eczema is the child’s uncontrollable urge to scratch the affected part. A small patch of eczema can develop into an infection if left unmanaged and untreated for kids. It can even progress to spread on to different parts of the body as well, especially when known triggers aren’t minimized. Secondhand effects of childhood eczema may include:
- Low-quality of nighttime sleep and sleep loss
- Poor self-image and lack of self-confidence
- Inability to perform daily activities of living smoothly and comfortably
The responsibility falls on the parents of children living with eczema as they are the kids’ primary health manager and the children’s own main support system. The challenge is to help alleviate the itchiness by minimizing the triggers and by also preventing further damage to the affected part.
First off, the parents should seek advice from a doctor or any health care professional to properly diagnose any disease or ailment. Any condition, if left untreated, can always develop into a life-threatening problem so prevention and early diagnosis are always better than cure.
At home and in school, modification of the children’s environment is ideal to support the healing process as well as to prevent eczema from progressing or recurring. Any physical triggers such as cold weather, pets, harsh detergents and strong cleaning chemicals, and even food allergens should be identified and avoided. Teachers and other family members should be informed about the condition to foster a safe and healthy environment for the child at all times.
The key to controlling eczema is to establish a good skin care routine for the child to adhere to every night. Teach him or her on how to properly clean the skin and the rest of his or her body every day, especially right after spending a day under the sun or playing all afternoon outdoors. Changing dirty clothes and soiled bed linens is important, too. Applying moisturizers and emollients regularly at night can help keep the skin feeling soothed and well-hydrated.
If the itching doesn’t subside after all the interventions or even if the child is too young to understand the condition, it is best to simply prevent him or her to cause further damage to the skin. Cases like moderate to severe eczema can lead to excessively itchy skin which is just too unavoidable for a toddler or a preschooler to scratch. Using bamboo gloves can help in minimizing the inflammation caused by scratching and it also prevents from wounds and scrapes from forming. The child gets to alleviate the itchiness by touching the affected part but because of the soft, organic material eczema gloves are made of, the skin is left undamaged and unharmed. The gloves can be used wet or dry and they can be washed after every use, which means any fluid discharges or skin debris won’t be cross-contaminated into other parts of the child’s body or even to his or her siblings and playmates.
With the bamboo eczema gloves, children with eczema get better sleep at night, leading to a productive and happy day ahead when they wake up. As for the parents, they can get restful sleep as well with minimising having to check on the child from time to time for lesions, bleeding, scrapes, and other effects of scratching onto the skin.