Our Top 10 Tips for Itchy Skin

  1. Itchy little monkeys!  Our top tip for caring for a child with itchy skin is to give them the gift of our skin-saving Shruggi™ to protect their skin from the damage caused by scratching.  The Shruggi™ is made from 100% certified organic cotton and silk. It is super soft and comfortable.  It is machine washable, lightweight and comes in bright colours with the Itchy little monkey characters on it, so your child will love wearing it. Combine this with one of the Itchy little monkeys bedtime stories to make bedtime easier and to give the child (and therefore the parent) a good night’s sleep!
  2. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!  And do it often.  Thick ointments are much more effective than lotions and creams, they offer the most protection for your child’s skin.  Moisturising after washing and bathing is a must!
  3. Take a bath!  Having a daily bath helps with your child’s itchy skin, but remember not to let them stay in for longer than 5 minutes.  If your child is reluctant to get out after 5 minutes, pull out the plug – they can continue to play but are not immersed in the water!
  4. Tough as nails!  Ensure that your child’s nails are kept short. Short fingernails cause less damage to the skin if your child does scratch. If scratching at night is a problem, remember to put on their cuddly skin-saving Shruggi™ at bedtime for a peaceful night’s sleep.
  5. Be Trigger Happy!  If you can learn what your child’s eczema triggers are you can try to avoid them where possible. Main triggers are heat, dust, grass and pollen, synthetic or woollen fabrics, biological detergents, cigarette smoke, cats and dogs, stress.
  6. Keep cool!  Keep your child’s bedroom and surroundings cool.  Heat and humidity can cause itchy skin to flare up.
  7. Be natural!  Dress your child in light, breathable, natural fabrics, such as cotton. Wools and synthetic fabrics such as polyester, can irritate the skin.  Light layers work great as they can put on or take off a layer to stay comfortable.
  8. Go undercover!  Skin that is covered up seems to be less likely to itch especially if your child’s trigger is environmental or airborne.
  9. Don’t wash your dirty laundry… in biological detergent!  Always wash your child’s clothes in non-biological washing detergent and wash new clothes before they wear them. Do not use fabric conditioner.
  10. The Art of Distraction!  Finding a distraction from your child’s itchiness is easier during the day with games and activities.  At night-time, read them one of the Itchy little monkeys stories to help them relax and go to sleep.

Irish study on kids eczema

  • 26 Jan 2015

Data published today from BASELINE (Ireland’s first prospective birth cohort study) in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the world’s highest ranked allergy journal.

Eczema is the most common chronic skin condition in children and adults, affecting all aspects of a person’s life, including sleeping, eating, playing, swimming and socializing, and is also associated with altered mental health in adults. Medical care of eczema is estimated to cost up to $3.4 billion dollars per annum in the United States.

10% of Irish people carry a mutation in the gene most commonly associated with eczema, FLG, which codes the expression of a protein called filaggrin. Low filaggrin expression in the skin is the hallmark of eczema, and causes defects in skin barrier function, making eczema more severe and skin infections and allergies more common.

The BASELINE Allergy study group led by Professor Jonathan Hourihane and Research Fellow Dr Maeve Kelleher (both UCC) and Professor Alan Irvine (TCD) measured water evaporation in the skin of 1903 newborn babies in Cork University Hospital, and followed them up until 12 months of age. Infants who had a high value for this transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and a combination of a filaggrin mutation and allergic parents were seven times more likely to have eczema at 12 months, despite having no visible skin barrier defect or eczema at the time of measurement before they left the maternity hospital.

Professor Hourihane says: “This is the largest set of neonatal skin barrier assessments ever performed, performed just after birth, several weeks earlier than any similar and smaller studies. This association of a neonatal skin barrier defect, present in some but not all children, offers hope that an intervention in this time period could prevent eczema developing in these highest-risk children targeted for a simple intervention with moisturisers to protect their skin barrier. It was also fascinating to find that low TEWL readings after birth appeared to be protective for eczema at 12 months, so there might be a double-edged benefit for using this test more routinely.  Prevention of eczema may also prevent the development of asthma and food allergy, which are strongly associated with eczema because the allergens get through the broken skin and cause the development of allergies. This may add to the growing strategies to prevent these common and occasionally serious and fatal illnesses such as asthma and food allergy. More trials will be needed on the basis of this unique finding in Irish children.”

 

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