This has been an autumn to remember. For kids going back to school, what is normally a time of excitement, has instead become an exercise in perseverance. No matter if your kids learning virtually in your living room, attending school in-person, or an alternative option that is somewhere in between, the start of this school year has been unfamiliar and downright difficult. If your child suffers from eczema, the situation can grow even more complicated.
We have developed a helpful list to help you better control eczema as the academic year kicks off. Here are the seven tips to managing your child’s eczema during school through the pandemic:
- Communicate: For kids attending school in person, be sure to indicate any eczema diagnosis on health intake forms. Speak with the school nurse and teachers to make sure they are aware of your child’s triggers and strategies you rely on to provide relief. Explain that masks and hand sanitizer can exacerbate eczema and provide instruction on how to mitigate Covid-related flareups. For kids who are schooling at home, be sure to communicate their eczema diagnosis with any tutors or caregivers if applicable. If your child needs to take additional screen breaks during a flare-up, be sure the teacher is aware of the condition in advance.
- Manage mask-wearing: Masks are essential as we work to fight the spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately for people with eczema, sometimes wearing masks for long periods of time can cause flareups. To avoid irritation, wear masks made from soft fabrics like 100% cotton or natural fibers. Double-layered masks do well at preventing the spread of Covid but look for lightweight fabrics to foster breathability. Try to wash your masks with gentle detergent after each wearing; don’t put them on your child’s face directly from the dryer as masks may retain heat momentarily and irritate sensitive skin.
- Moisturize: As we’ve discussed on this blog, hand sanitizer and excessive hand washing can worsen eczema symptoms. To stop the spread of germs, everyone must keep their hands clean, especially children. Using hand sanitizer and frequent washing can strip away valuable lipids, which serve as the skin’s armor. To keep your hands clean while protecting your skin, apply moisturizer designed to restore the skin’s barrier after each washing or application of hand sanitizer.
- Avoid stress: Anxiety and stress can be one of the biggest culprits for eczema flareups. And few will argue that living through a pandemic isn’t inherently stressful. Kids feel the stress, too. Even if kids are learning in their old familiar classroom, the experience is no doubt different. Kids are aware that a dangerous, contagious virus is out there, but may have difficulty truly comprehending the situation and risks. Share with your children age-appropriate videos that explain the complexities of the pandemic.
- Exercise: While heavy sweating is often a foe of eczema, it’s important to remember that kids need to move. This is especially the case for kids who are learning virtually from home. It’s too easy for three to four hours of education to pass without much physical activity. Go for walks. Start the day with family yoga practice. Challenge your kids to jumping jack challenges between classes. Regular, non-strenuous exercise can help with stress management, too.
- Hydrate: If you’re focused on moisturizing your kids’ skin, be sure to do so from the inside out. Kids are busy. Drinking water tends not to be a priority. No matter where they are studying, make sure they are drinking enough water. Health officials suggest children drink roughly the same number of eight-ounce glasses of water as their age, up to 64 ounces.
- Monitor your environment: Make sure your child’s learning environment isn’t too hot or cold. Keep moisturizer handy in case the air is dry. Kids should wear layers of comfortable clothing made from natural fibers so they can cool off and warm up as needed.
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