It's officially August, so you know what that means? School supply shopping! Time to think about binders, pencils, and all the other trappings that make back to school shopping so fun.
For a parent with a child that suffers from eczema, there are a few things that you need to think about other than the “classroom essentials”. Inside your home, you can control your child’s environment to make sure there are no known triggers that could cause an eczema flare up. At school, that kind of control just isn’t possible.
Triggers like dust mites, harsh cleaning products, perfumes, and foods can be plentiful at school. Even with attempts by teachers to minimize the allergen risks. You, the teacher, and most of all, your child have to be prepared for all possible eczema scenarios.
What should be on your back to school eczema shopping list?
1) Eczema Friendly Soap
Being a kid at school can be a dirty job. Literally. Art class, outdoor activities, and other classroom projects require follow up with a good hand washing. For a kid with eczema, using a soap dispenser in the bathroom isn’t a safe option. There is no way to know if the soap inside is eczema friendly or not. School’s tend to use the most inexpensive soap possible. Buy a plastic soap travel container and a bar of eczema friendly soap for your child.
Soap is also an essential item after a gym class. Sweating can be a huge eczema trigger, particularly when the sweat isn’t washed off and is left to dry on the skin. Most schools have shower facilities. After gym, it might be a good idea for your child to take a quick shower to cool down and get rid of any sweat build-up.
If you have a child who is very young and might lose the soap, it’s a good idea to leave a backup bar in the care of a teacher or nurse.
2) Eczema Friendly Moisturizer
Along with eczema-friendly soap, when you have a child with eczema, you probably also know exactly which moisturizers are best for your child’s skin. Your child should always moisturize immediately after washing. He or she should be encouraged to moisturize additional times throughout the day. You probably need at least two extra bottles. One to keep securely in your child’s backpack, cubby, or desk, and one in the care of the school nurse. Talk to your child’s teacher and the nurse. Explain your kid’s skin care routine, then try to make sure the routine continues at school.
3) Eczema Friendly Clothes/Uniform
Your child’s day to day clothing is probably already eczema friendly, but some schools have dress codes and uniforms. If they do, make sure that you can buy your child a cotton version that won’t be harsh on their skin. Talk to the school principal to see if any concessions can be made if the uniform is somewhat heavy or scratchy. If this is the case, buying an eczema rescue suit might be an excellent idea. These full body suits are made of incredibly soft material that can protect your child’s skin from any potentially harsh fabrics. The rescue suit also stops the itch. There are eczema sleeves available for arms and legs that are great under regular clothing. They keep emollients in place, prevent itching and flare-ups.
4) Allergen-free food
Snacks for recess and a packed lunch are a necessity—you can’t trust what’s sold at the school cafeteria. Send your child to school with non-triggering foods and warn them not to “trade” with any other students. Most schools are now peanut-free zones, but make sure to confirm this before sending your child into a potential triggering environment.
If your child has any medicated ointments or creams they use on a daily basis, you need to make sure they have access to them while at school. Put a tube in their backpack and make sure the school nurse also has one. Both your child and the school’s healthcare support need to be ready in case of an emergency flare up.
6) Alternatives to Pencils/Pens
This is a point that not everyone might think of. If your child suffers from bad eczema on their hands, it might be challenging to hold a pencil or pen without discomfort or even pain. If that’s the case, an alternative method to taking notes or completing exercises can be life changing for your child. Thankfully, with the advent of tablets and smaller computers, this isn’t as big of a problem as it was years ago. There are many solutions to this sort of issue, from using a keyboard to a touch screen. Talk to the teacher about your child’s difficulties. Work together to figure out a solution that will allow your child to move at the same pace as the rest of the class. Eczema treatment gloves are wonderful over emollients to soothe eczema throughout the school day.
This information is not meant to replace a visit to a physician or a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any condition.