Issue #049 - Working With Your Child's School
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This is the 49th edition of the Eczema Bulletin. It will bring you articles and news about eczema, and also any updates to what-is-eczema.com. If you would like to add any suggestions for articles or news, or even add your own then I would love to hear from you.
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This month's Eczema Bulletin includes
- August's Featured Article – Work With Your Child's School
- My favourite eczema news article
- Tip of the Month
- 5 Ways To.....have child and eczema-friendly school holidays
Working With Your Child's School
When your child has eczema you get into a routine at home. You know what treatments they need, what triggers a flare up and how they deal with it everyday.
When your child starts school there will be some worry about how their school will help support you both. The same worries can occur when your child moves from primary school to secondary school, or when they relocate to a new school.
The best thing to do is to work with the school, especially their class teacher and head teacher. It is a good idea to speak to them as soon as you can. This will give them some time to organise a meeting with you, and they may decide that they'd like to learn more about eczema.
As around 1 in 5 children develops eczema it is very likely that the school has taught other eczema sufferers in the past, but as you know, eczema can come in different severities and need different care.
Once you've arranged a meeting with the school, it's a good idea to make a
list of everything that you need to discuss. This could include:
- Treatment. They'll need to know every cream and ointment that your child uses. Also how much is used and how often. If the treatment will need applying at school then a more detailed plan will be needed. Where will it be applied, will it be a private area and by who? If a teacher needs to apply it you may find it beneficial being there for the first time. You can explain if there is a routine, how to support your child if they get distressed, and it may help your child feel more comfortable about somebody else applying the treatment. Also advise if a small pot of emollient needs to be readily available to apply, for example, after washing their hands
- The best ways to deal with scratching. Advise the school of any triggers that normally make your child scratch more. It could be how they feel, certain times of the day or triggers which irritate their skin. Talk about how you
deal with scratching at home, and also about irritants which make it worse
- Triggers. Some of the main triggers found at schools are central heating, wet play, cooking, class pets, PE, sitting on the floor, dust and swimming. Discuss how your child can still take part in as many activities as possible so they don't feel excluded. Examples include, not sitting near radiators, moving pets out of the classroom, wearing suitable gloves when painting and cooking
- Uniform. The school's uniform is likely to be made of synthetic, itchy, irritating material. Explain to the school that clothes made of 100% cotton are the best alternative. They may let your child wear an item which is very similar to the uniform but made from cotton. Another option is to wear silk clothes, to act as a protective layer, under their uniform
- Time off. You may need to take your child to regular appointments. This could be to the doctor, a
dermatologist or a hospital appointment. Share any time off that you already know about, and advise that you'll give them as much notice as you can for future appointments. If your child's eczema is severe you may find that they need quite a bit of time off. Speak to the school about how you can both stop your child falling behind with their work
- Teasing. When someone looks different children have a knack of just saying what comes to their head. They don't normally mean it in a nasty way, but when you're on the other side it can be really hurtful. Ask the school how they deal with teasing and bullying and what support is available when it is happening. It can also help to speak to your child about what other children may say and give them some answers to questions that they may get asked
You may need to explain to the school how important the treatment and management of eczema is. This gets more important the more severe your child's
As a parent, you are definitely the best person to give advice on all aspects of your child's eczema. The school may also be of help by letting you know if they notice anything that makes them scratch. Also how they deal with their eczema while they're at school, including how it affects them emotionally.
You could offer to go to the school and do a short talk about eczema to your child's class. This will help their classmates to understand eczema a bit more and understand why sometimes your child has to do things a little differently.
You know your child better than anybody, and by working with the school and their teachers, you'll help to make their transition a lot easier, and their eczema easier to manage.
Eczema News Article
A tiny capsule containing essential oils, called a nanocapsule, that will be embedded in clothes to help with sensitive skin has been produced.
The capsules are hundreds of times smaller than the width of a hair. The oils they contain will only be released when bacteria that causes infections is present on the skin. This could help in the case of eczema where the condition is severe and where there is a risk of infection.
The capsules will stay intact when the clothes are machine washed. They also last as long as the item of clothing. The oils in the capsules may run out earlier, it depends on how severe the infection is and how much treatment is needed.
The makers of the capsules are hoping to make them available by 2019/20.
Tip Of The Month - Nightshades and Eczema
Nightshades are part of a family of plants which has over 2000 species. Many are used as food and medicines, including supplements.
Some common foods that are part of the nightshade family include:
- bell peppers
- potatoes, except sweet potatoes
- eggplant, or aubergine
- pimentos and jalapeños
An allergy to nightshades is uncommon, but some people get certain symptoms, including bloating and gas, diarrhoea, sickness and headaches. Eczema is not a listed symptom, but some people have a sensitivity to the salicylates that nightshades contain. They can cause skin inflammation, which could make eczema worse.
You may also find that contact dermatitis develops after touching and having direct contact with nightshades. The symptoms tend to clear after avoiding them.
If you are concerned that nightshades may be making your eczema worse there
are a couple of things you could do to find out:
- Allergy testing. Speak to your doctor to get a test arranged. I don't recommend getting a home test
- Keep a journal. Make a detailed list of everything you eat and how the symptoms of your eczema are after
Always check the ingredients in all products you use, for example, paprika may have been added to your favourite pasta sauce, and Tabasco sauce is made of chillis that could cause a reaction.
One thing I definitely learned today is that mushrooms aren't part of the nightshade family. So if you need to eliminate nightshades from your diet you'll find sweet potatoes, cauliflower, celery, blueberries and oranges, as well as mushrooms, are great alternatives.