Now the new school term has started after a long break, children will be needing to get used to the new normal.
Kids may be nervous, excited or apprehensive about returning to the classroom but for those with eczema, the new rules in place may aggravate their skin condition.
School pupils will still be encouraged to wash their hands regularly as well as use antibacterial hand gels and for children with eczema, this can cause problems. Excessive hand washing can cause eczema prone skin to become even dryer and the skin to flare while hand gels contain many chemicals and the harsh properties that kill germs can be tough on skin.
To minimise the chances of passing on COVID-19, hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, soap substitutes are not effective at lathering and killing the virus. Antibacterial hand gels are the next best option when hand washing isn’t possible.
The British Association of Dermatologists released advice from Professor Hywell Williams. His tips are:
1.Wash hands with soap – in line with government guidance, using soap and water. This can be difficult for people with dry and cracked skin, but we advise to follow the government guidance as much as is practical. Dry your hands fully after washing by patting them dry, not rubbing.
2. Moisturise moisturise moisturise! – Moisturisers (emollients) are an essential part of treating atopic eczema. They should be applied generously after hand washing, repeatedly through the day, and whenever the skin feels dry. You can even use a soap substitute just after washing with real soap for extra moisture before applying the emollient!
Some people find overnight moisturising using ointments (thicker than creams) beneficial. Apply just before bed, then put on a pair of clean cotton gloves and leave overnight.
If your child has a severe eczema flare or a suspected infection (for example, your skin is oozing) get in touch with your healthcare professional immediately.
3. Communication is key
Speak to your child’s teacher – You should follow the advice from your child’s school regarding hand washing but if they are primary school age, make their teacher aware – either on the phone or by emailing them – that your child will need to apply their emollient after each hand washing to prevent flare ups. Encourage them to speak directly with your child about it.
Talk with your child – Also talk to your child and explain to them that moisturising after each hand wash is vital to keep their hands nice and soft. Make sure they know where their cream is kept (in their bag or a classroom cabinet, for example), that they are confident to use them.
You can watch Professor Hywell’s full hand washing tips here.