If you haven't got very itchy skin, the condition you have is not eczema. It is the main symptom. And the hardest one to deal with. Though not impossible to manage.
Itchy skin is common in many conditions. Not just in skin conditions. Looking at the other symptoms, will give you an idea if it is eczema or not.
You may not have an urge to scratch 24 hours.
But when you do, it can consume you.
Making it difficult to think about anything else.
It can be anything from slightly irritating to a total distraction.
If you are watching your child frantically trying to find some relief, it can be very distressing.
It makes the irritation worse. This leads to the itch-scratch cycle. You have an itch. You scratch it.
The skin gets damaged and becomes inflamed, producing very dry itchy skin.
The itch becomes more intense. You scratch.
Further skin damage occurs. And so it goes on.
Scratching very itchy skin can feel great as a short term solution. But you probably already know that it doesn't help in the long term. Because of the damage it does it makes it harder to treat. Especially if an infection occurs.
I appreciate it can be very hard. Sometimes you may find yourself scratching, and you haven't even realised you are doing it.
It can feel impossible to leave it alone. That’s why it is important to deal with even a small patch of eczema as soon as it appears. Manage the condition before the inflammation worsens, preventing more irritation.
It is harder to explain to a child why they should try and leave their skin alone.
When I was a child if I was told to stop doing something I suddenly wanted to do it. Especially if its something that could get rid of something irritating me.
Children don't tend to live looking at the long term effects. They just want some short term relief.
But us adults also struggle. I have to find something to distract myself from my very itchy skin.
This can be done with children too.
Find an activity that doesn't involve anything that could irritate the skin.
Reading, a trip to the park, watching a film.
Basically anything that your child loves to do. And that their skin will love too.
One simple piece of advice I can give, is to keep your fingernails short.
I mean very short, and file them well. Even a tiny piece of nail can do a lot of damage.
As a woman it is slightly disappointing to not be able to grow my nails. But I find it easier to live with unglamorous nails than to have to deal with infected eczema.
Even with no nails it is still possible to cause damage while trying to find relief. Rubbing the skin can cause problems, especially if it is done vigorously.
We will find anything to use. It could be clothing, bedding, pen lids, edge of a table. The list is endless. Children can be crafty, so watch out for them using a seemingly innocent object as a scratcher.
It is definitely better to ease an itch, say with using an emollient, or to distract from it.
Itchy skin at night can be a problem. A bedroom can be a very warm place. Sometimes you may scratch in your sleep! It helps to keep a small window open, to keep the room aired.
Using the thinnest bed covers you can also helps, especially if they are made of cotton. Also wearing loose fitting cotton nightwear is ideal.
Sometimes antihistamines may be prescribed by your doctor. These can help with the itching and help you to get a better night's sleep.
Emollient should be used regularly throughout the day. It helps keep the skin moisturised, so it doesn't get dry. Having dry skin can intensify the itch. So cover the skin around 15 minutes before going to bed. This gives it time to absorb into the skin.
I have always got a tub of emollient next to my bed in case I need it during the night.
Another way to ease your itch can include keeping the area cool. Just running cold water on it can help. It will cool the skin but it has a drying effect on it. So pat it dry and then apply an emollient to help keep the moisture in. A cold compress also helps.
The itch is where your eczema starts being irritating. Give in to it and it can end up helping to cause a whole host of other symptoms.
If you have any suggestions or tips to help with very itchy skin, then fill in the form below. Share your experiences with other visitors.
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