Starting a new school year is exciting for kids. But for kids with eczema and their parents, a new school year requires a little extra prep. Classrooms can have various triggers and challenges. And unless teachers are intimately familiar with eczema, they might not realize it’s not “just a rash.” At CLn Skin Care, we hear from eczema moms all the time. We have compiled a list of top tips to keep your kids healthy—and happy—when dealing with eczema at school.
Tip #1: Ask to meet with your child’s teachers if dealing with eczema at school is a concern.
Writing “eczema” under the “Health Issues” section of intake forms is only the first step. Many people do not understand how severely eczema can impact quality of life. By meeting with your child’s teachers face-to-face, you can explain the severity of the condition and how it might impact the student.
Tip #2: Provide a list of known triggers. And make sure ALL of your child’s teachers have a copy.
Schools can have many eczema triggers. Providing your own snacks or meals is a good idea if certain foods cause flairs. Environmental triggers can be a bit trickier when dealing with eczema at school. Dust in rugs or dress up clothes, dyes in paints, additives in modeling clay, pollens from trees on the playground, synthetic fabrics in gym clothes, etc. can all cause a flair. Provide the school with a list of all known triggers. Then work with teachers (gym, art, recess monitors, etc.) to provide safe alternatives for your child.
Tip #3: Conduct classroom tours.
Many schools use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or harsh soaps. Baby wipes are often used after art projects or snack time. These products can exacerbate eczema at school. Tour the classrooms your child will be in. Read ingredient lists on all products used. Then supply alternatives, if necessary.
Tip #4: If moisturizer helps, arrange to have it available.
Many eczema sufferers find that moisturizing after cleansing or throughout the day is helpful. Ask your child’s teacher to keep a moisturizer you provide on hand in the classroom. Just make sure it is nut-free.
Tip #5: If eczema impacts your child’s sleep, have a plan in place to communicate “bad nights” to your child’s teacher.
The itching associated with eczema can intensify at night. This can mean interrupted sleep for parent and kid. Ask your child’s teacher how they want to be informed about “bad nights.” Tired students may not be as receptive to learning, and may need special accommodations.
Tip #6: Provide alternatives to scratching.
Children with eczema scratch. Sometimes a lot. And that scratching can actually make eczema worse. Also, scratching can interfere with learning. If you have found success at home with having your child press or gently “pinch” itchy areas instead of scratching, share those techniques with his or her teachers. Often teachers are willing to provide a hand signal or cue to remind students to engage in alternative behaviors to scratching.
Tip #7: Have an open dialogue about bullying.
Kids with eczema can have red or scaly skin and sores. Some will scratch a noticeable amount. These differences in appearance and behavior can open the door to bullying. Ask your child to tell you if anyone is mentioning or making fun of eczema. The National Eczema Association has wonderful tools available to educate others about what eczema is and how to deal with the emotional impact of the condition at school. Check them at: https://nationaleczema.org/living-with-eczema/tools-for-school/
Tip #8: Meet the school nurse.
Occasionally, eczema can bleed and require bandages. If your child has been introduced to the school nurse prior to needing the nurse’s care, it can make the experience less scary.
Tip #9: Leave school “germs” at school.
If your child is sensitive to environmental triggers or experiencing an eczema flair, make it a routine to change his or her clothing as soon as they come home from school. Encourage a bath or shower to “wash away the day.” Cleansing with CLn BodyWash for just two minutes a day can reduce the appearance of skin redness, dryness or flakiness seen with eczema.
Tip #10: Celebrate successes.
Make it a habit to check in with teachers. Ask them how your child is managing eczema at school. Is she remembering to avoid triggers? Is he applying lotion after cleansing? If so, praise your child for practicing good self-care. Celebrating successes makes it more likely that healthy habits will continue all year.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.