The beginning of a new school year is always a time of excitement and fun for most kids. They are looking forward to spending time with old friends, getting to know new ones, and learning new skills. It can also be a stressful time, particularly for children who are dealing with the itchy skin of eczema and worse, the full-body itchy feeling that comes from topical steroid withdrawal. These physical distractions can make concentration and learning almost impossible for some kids, especially the younger ones. But, there are some things you can do to help minimize those distractions and difficulties, leaving the way clear for learning.
There’s just no way that this point can be overemphasized. Keeping skin heavily moisturized is the key to staying comfortable with eczema. But just rubbing some lotion on your skin isn’t going to help. You actually need to keep moisture locked beneath the upper layer of the skin, not just soak it in once. You need EczeMate to create a protective barrier over your child’s sensitive skin. You can apply it before they leave home for school and trust that even when they are away from you, your choice of ointment is working to heal them.
#2 Breathable Clothes
Shopping for new school clothes is a yearly back-to-school tradition for many families. If you are sending a child with eczema back-to-school, you need to look for more than just the latest styles and color trends. You’ll also need to watch for allergy triggers, textures, and seams. Clothes made from itchy materials (e.g. wool and coarsely woven linens, some polyesters) can lead to eczema flare-ups. Soft, easy-wear cottons and some silky man-made fabrics will help soothe skin rather than irritate it.
#3 Stress Management
Eczema flare-ups can be triggered by stress and anxiety. Back-to-school can be a stressful time for students. In order to reduce their eczema symptoms, take time to visit with your child, get a feel for their concerns and worries, help alleviate some of them if you can, and teach them good stress management tips. Share the “S.T.O.P” method of preventing anxiety.
- “S”–stop what you’re doing, take three deep breaths, and remember you’re going to be okay.
- “T”–think about the situation you are in. Are you where you’re supposed to be? Do you remember the instructions? You can ask to have them repeated if you are confused.
- “O”–observe others around you. Can anyone help you with the problem you’re having? It’s okay to ask for help.
- “P”–plan the steps you will take to accomplish your job. If a big assignment is broken down into smaller tasks it is much easier to accomplish and a lot less stressful.
#4 Teacher Conference
It’s a good idea to speak with your child’s teacher before the start of the school year, or shortly after it has begun. Some school activities can be hard on sensitive skin. Make certain that your child’s teacher knows how to protect your child’s skin while still participating in activities. It is probably a good idea to also speak with the school nurse and be sure that they have the supplies on hand to help your child in the event of a flare-up.
#5 “Don’t Itch!” Reminders
You won’t be there to remind your child to not itch their skin when a flare-up occurs. Practice reminders with them to help them get past the urge to itch. Teach them a poem to recite in their head, a song to hum under their breath or sing inside their head, or even a tapping game with their fingers. Sometimes, the things they do to distract their minds and keep their fingers busy can be enough to get past the urge to itch. Using EczeMate will also relieve your child’s itching, or reduce it significantly.