Itching and Scratching
Itching is possibly the worst symptom of eczema, especially in little ones who can’t help but rub and scratch. It’s distracting, painful and distressing and it can seriously impact on sleep and development.
Try to discourage scratching as much as possible. During the day distraction works well but night and nap time is often when the problem is at its worst.Scratching the skin worsens the problem by increasing the itch and damaging the skin further. Scratching increases the chances of skin infections and can lead to skin trauma.
Clip fingernails as short as you can, it is often easier to cut small babies nails when there sound asleep. Try to keep the skin cooler rather than warm. If possible keep the affected skin covered.
Normal skin can itch too so if you see your child scratching anywhere apply some of their cream. Encourage older toddlers to let you know if they have an itch, one mum told me how her young daughter learnt to point to her jar of beeswax cream at the first signs of an itch.
Baths may help soothe itching too, apply cream as soon as they’re out. Clean flannels can be used as a soothing cool compress on hot itchy areas. In small babies scratch mittens or sleep suits with fold over mitts attached are useful. Specialised clothing is available for babies and toddlers. ScratchSleeves or nightwear with covered mitts can really help prevent the trauma caused by scratching eczema and can often aid sleep.
Keep checking back with your healthcare provider too. If the itching isn’t improving or is getting worse it may need a change of creams or medication. If the itching is very problematic Doctors will sometimes prescribe antihistamines to help at night.