Back to School – Kids with Eczema

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Starting school and Back to school time can be met with both excitement and nerves.  If your little one has eczema, it’s the parents that can be more nervous than the child!  But with some planning, preparation and communication, it can be a lot easier than you think!  Here are some top tips.  Some may apply more than others, depending on the age of your child.

 

CommunicationMeet with your child’s teacher and explain to them what the requirements are for best looking after their eczema. This may include some of the following:

Triggers Discuss what your child’s triggers are, how to best avoid them, how your child behaves when having an eczema flare and how to best handle it. 

Medication – Make an Eczema Relief Kit for your child to keep at school or to bring with them each day. Talk through the kit with your child’s teacher to make sure they understand what each item is for. Things to include can range from moisturiser, antihistamine, bandages, eczema clothing (such as the Itchy Little Monkeys Shruggi).  

Heat – Request that the windows in the classroom are kept open to allow fresh air to circulate and that your child is seated away from heat sources.

Uniform – Many school uniforms unfortunately can be very heavy and made from synthetic fabrics.  Where possible, your child should be dressed in 100% cotton clothing to prevent itching.  Discuss the necessity of having your child wear natural fabrics as part of their uniform – there are usually similar cotton alternatives available.

Moisturiser Your child should carry a tub of moisturiser with them to school.  Depending on the age of your child, they may be able to apply themselves or the teacher can assist them.  Make sure that you have applied moisturiser to their skin before sending them off to school each morning.

Education Educate your child about eczema, their triggers and how to best manage the symptoms. This will help them prevent and treat their symptoms when they are not with you. Validate feelings and insecurities they may have about coping with eczema, especially social insecurities. Children with eczema can feel isolated in social settings.

Stress – Stress is a trigger for eczema whether it stems from the symptoms and treatment of eczema or the academic and social pressures brought on by the school year. It is important to find ways to help your child prevent and cope with the stress brought on by school.  Make sure your child takes part in activities they enjoy and talk to your child about their feelings regularly.

Travelling with kids who have eczema and/or allergies

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Having a little one who suffers from eczema as well as severe food allergies, travelling abroad can be daunting.  Our daughter was diagnosed with her nut allergy days before going on an overseas holiday – it was an anxious time to say the least!  So we have put together some tips for travelling/holidaying to help you prepare for that well deserved trip away!

Eczema:

  1. Routine: Don’t let your little one’s daily skin care routine suffer when on holidays.  It will make for a more enjoyable time for everyone if you can keep up the management of your kids eczema.
  2. Airplane: Make sure you have moisturiser on board and re-apply often as flying dehydrates the skin.
  3. Bedding: Bring your own where you can – hotels may use strong laundry detergents on theirs that may irritate skin.
  4. Flannels/Face cloths: Bring your own and multiple.
  5. Emulsifying ointment: Bring enough for bathing each day and for moisturising more often than usual if going to a warm climate.
  6. Prescribed creams/ointments/medications: Err on the side of caution and take as many as you would use at home – usually coming in small size packaging they don’t take up too much room and worth it in case of need. Keep them with carry-on luggage.
  7. Scissors: Don’t forget your nail scissors (in checked luggage), little ones nails grow faster in the sunshine!
  8. Refrigerator: Ask for a fridge in the hotel room/apartment before you travel to store medication but also to keep creams cool.
  9. Swimming: Be careful how chlorinated the swimming pools are if this affects your child’s eczema.  Make sure to apply emulsifying ointment before swimming to protect them.  Sea water can be great for eczema, but you must also be careful if your child has broken skin in the salt water.
  10. Shruggi: Don’t forget your Itchy Little Monkeys Shruggi – especially for bed-time and if travelling long distances in the car.

 

Allergies:

  1. Start simply: If you feel too anxious about travelling abroad, look for stay-cation options for allergy safe travel. An enjoyable, manageable first holiday experience with your little one will boost your confidence and you may want to venture further afield next time.
  2. Language: Find out the translation for your little one’s allergies in the language of the country you are traveling to.
  3. Adrenaline pens: Make sure you bring a letter from your doctor, you may be asked for this at the airport.
  4. Airplane staff: For severe nut allergy sufferers, when boarding the airplane ask for who is in charge and ask them to make a PA announcement saying that there is a child on board with a severe nut allergy, for passengers not to eat nuts on board and that they won’t be selling products that are nut based.
  5. Snacks: Bring some snacks from home to ensure that you have reliable reserves for on the go.
  6. Food: Before you travel, contact a few restaurants in the area you will be staying in and ask them if they can accommodate your child’s allergies. Many times, we have found that pasta abroad is made from egg rather than wheat, so we regularly bring our own and ask the chef to cook it for us if theirs is not egg-free.
  7. Find out where the nearest doctor/24 hour emergency clinic is before you travel or when you arrive.
  8. Relax and enjoy!