The Itch - Scratch Cycle of Eczema.

The Itch - Scratch Cycle of Eczema.

Does Your Child Have Itchy Eczema that Just Won't Stop? Here's Some Information and Tips on How to Treat Your Child's Eczema and Stop the Exhausting Itch/Scratch Cycle that Keeps You Both Up at Night.

Eczema is growing at an alarming rate worldwide. It is very common in children and when a child has eczema, everyone in the family is miserable. Itching and scratching at night causes sleep deprivation for the child and their parents, who are often up with the child. Also, children with eczema are susceptible to infection as they touch everything then scratch their eczema.

Why is the Eczema so Itchy?

Many describe eczema as the itch you can’t scratch. Eczema sufferers say the itch is under the skin so scratching it doesn’t help it go away, it just temporarily relieves the itch during the scratching, but unfortunately, it always comes back.

Eczema is created by an allergen which puts the immune system on alert. People with eczema can have an increased response to the allergen and the body can see it as a threat such as pollen, pet dander and dust mites.

The immune system reacts with inflammation that produces an intense itch and the itching and scratching begins. It is almost impossible to resist the intense itching which some describe as being similar to poison ivy. Itching damages the skin barrier so more of the allergen can enter making the situation worse.

The below diagram shows the Itch-Scratch Cycle.

The itch-scratch cycle of eczema.

Once the skin becomes broken it is also more susceptible to infection such as staph. You will need to visit your child’s healthcare provider if you think the eczema is infected.

How Can We Help this Dreaded Itch-Scratch Cycle?

  1. Find out what is causing the allergic reaction and try to remove it from your child’s environment. An allergist can help you find the allergen but sometimes it is difficult or there are more than one. It can be a food such as dairy or gluten or a chemical ( i.e.: laundry detergent, shampoo) or an environmental allergen such as pollen, pet dander or dust mites.
  2. Repair the dry, cracked eczema through moisturizing and wet and dry wrap therapy. Repairing the skin barrier through intense, much needed moisture is essential to stopping the Itch/Scratch Cycle. Below is a diagram of the process of wet wrap therapy.  This process can also be done with dry clothing for dry wrap therapy.  Using clothing damp may be necessary at first to get the eczema under control then switch to dry clothing.  
  3. Bleach baths can help with eczema that is susceptible to infection. Please visit the National Eczema Association for more information on bleach baths and other baths beneficial for eczema.  http://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/bathing/types-of-baths/ for more information on bleach baths.
  4. Always visit your child’s doctor about their eczema and keep in mind that an allergist can be very helpful.
  5. Visit the National Eczema Association for products and clothing given their Seal of Acceptance at http://nationaleczema.org/eczema-products/
  6. To purchase Anti-itch clothing for wet and dry wrap therapy and to prevent scratching visit http://www.adrescuewear.com/shop/