Every child deserves to have a pet.
Pets provide companionship and love for a growing child, as well as teach them valuable lessons about responsibility.
The bond that can form between children and their animals can rival those formed between people. That is why it can be difficult when you have eczema children who suffer from animal-based eczema triggers. If they can't get within a foot of an animal without suddenly getting a massive eczema flare up, then a pet is out of the question, right? Well, that depends on the pet...
Cats and Dogs
When you bring up the word "pet", most people think of dogs and cats. Both of these animals can make for fabulous companions, with their own charms and personalities. Unfortunately, they are also two of the most common allergy and eczema triggers for eczema children.
This doesn't mean that dogs and cats are completely out of the question if you have an eczema child. Different breeds shed different levels of allergens. If your eczema child has their heart set on a cat or dog, you could try going to a pet shop or kennel and expose them to different breeds. Sadly if they have a negative reaction to the animals across the board, you might have to make the heartbreaking decision that your family cannot have a cat or dog. This doesn't mean there aren't other pets that might work though.
Fish are pretty much guaranteed not to be eczema triggers, as they spend their life underwater. The level of contact between a pet fish and your eczema child is going to be minimal, outside of feeding them and occasionally changing their water. That said, fish don't generally make the most affectionate companion animals for obvious reasons. There is another option, think of it as halfway between a cat and a fish...
Ok, we understand if you want to run away screaming at this suggestion. Many people find reptiles to be repulsive or scary, but believe it or not, they can make fabulous pets for eczema children.
Unlike with fish, a child can actually touch and play with a lizard, snake, turtle, or other kind of reptile. They can be affectionate, getting to know their owner. They can also be extremely low maintenance. A corn snake, for example, only needs to be fed once a week, his water changed twice a week, and his cage cleaned once a month.
Reptiles are also highly unlikely to be eczema triggers. This isn't a complete guarantee, however. Just about anything can be an eczema trigger, depending on the child. Never buy a pet until you are sure that your eczema child will be able to physically handle it. This could require another trip to the pet store, or you could borrow a pet from friends or family, just to see how they react.
If your eczema child does have a flare up in response to an animal, remove the animal from their environment as quickly as possible. To help with the flare up, we recommend a round of Wet Wrap Therapy that night. Give your child a lukewarm bath for about 15 minutes, then pat them dry. Apply any eczema-safe ointments or moisturizers to their skin and get your eczema wrap ready (such as our Eczema Rescue Suit or Eczema Gloves). Lighten dampen the eczema wrap and then put your eczema child into it. Add a layer of dry clothes over top and they are ready for bed! The Eczema Rescue Suit will help lock the moisture into their skin and give it a chance to heal overnight.
Every child deserves a pet, but that can be a tricky proposition if you have an eczema child. Taking a second look at some unconventional pets, such as reptiles or fish, might make for the perfect solution to the problem!