Children get itchy from time to time. They roll around in grass or mud, resulting in red, rashy skin. They get bitten by bugs in the summer and they always seem to get into stuff they shouldn’t. And some kids have more serious skin issues, like atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema in children and infants. It is an allergic condition making skin dry and/or itchy. 50% of all children with atopic dermatitis (AD) are affected by age 1 and 80% are affected by age 5.
Children with atopic dermatitis go through periods of flare-ups followed by periods of remission from infancy through childhood. Some kids outgrow it, though some still have eczema as adults. Adults with atopic dermatitis may have some flare-ups, which are typically less severe.
These kids have itchy, dry, red, swollen and sore skin. Scratching seems like it may offer some kind of relief, but it will generally make things worse. Some children have rashes that leak clear fluid. Rashes crust over and your kid begins to resemble a scaled reptile. Common places for atopic dermatitis are in elbow creases, behind the knees, on the cheeks, and on the buttocks
How to Decrease Flare-ups
- Wash hands only when necessary
- Use mild, unscented soap
- Dry hands completely after washing
- Avoid wool and synthetic fabrics (choose cotton)
- Avoid irritants like household cleaners, detergents, gasoline, etc.
- Keep water temperature cool or warm (not hot)
- Soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes in order to absorb water
- Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin to seal in moisture
- Avoid stress to avoid flare-ups
Atopic dermatitis is exacerbated by: anxiety, temperature changes, humidity, irritants, scratchy materials (wool), allergens and infections.
Wet Wrap Therapy
However, there may be a way to decrease the effects of atopic dermatitis and decrease the necessity for medications. Dr. Boguniewicz from National Jewish Health has developed a new therapy dubbed “wet wrap therapy” or WWT. After this therapy, applied 2-3 times daily for 4 days, there were dramatic improvements in patients.
Using WWT, children soak in a tub of clear water (no soap or additives) for 15 to 20 minutes. While still damp, topical steroid medication is applied to the affected area. The child is then covered in a layer of damp clothing or cloth followed by a layer of wet clothing. The clothing is not removed until it begins to dry out. Some may also re-wet the first layer of clothing for an extended period of soaking. This therapy appears to be more effective for children than medication alone. Studies show that it keeps skin moist and improves the effectiveness of topical medication. It also has a cooling, anti-itch effect on kids. Some studies found WWT to be effective, however, was “tedious and time-consuming.”
Wet Wrap Therapy should be done under medical supervision and children should be observed for signs of skin infections.
For questions or comments, respond to this blog or contact us! Check out Shaklee’s Mighty Smarts (Omega Chews), Probiotics and Natural Cleaning Products in order to keep your body healthy and prevent flare-ups.