Parents face a dilemma when their child with severe eczema is invited to visit a friend's house. On one hand, you want your child to have a circle of good friends and enjoy social activities; however, because many homes are not eczema-friendly, you are worried there may be triggers that can set off a flare-up. There are plenty of triggers in many people's homes that can worsen eczema, including chemicals, pets, heat, detergents, dust, fiber, sand, and cigarette smoke.
It is important to realize that a child suffering from eczema should be encouraged to have a normal social life regardless of his or her skin condition severity. So, what can you do to ensure your child will have a fun and safe visit at a friend's house? Here are some tips:
Prepare a Skin Care Kit
If your child stays over a friend's house, you can pack a kit containing all of his or her skincare products and medications. Do not put medications in separate pockets of an overnight bag or in separate containers. Here are some simple items you can pack in the kit:
- Medications – this can include topical medications, such as steroid creams or oral drugs such as anti-histamine pills for controlling itch.
- Cleansers – these are bath items that your child will use. If your child has severe eczema, it is advised for your child to use his or her own bath soaps and shampoos. By now, you know what cleansers and soaps are hypo-allergenic and good for your child. Your host may not have those same items. Many households use harsh soaps that can make skin worse.
- Moisturizers – these are lotions, emollients or ointments that your child needs to apply when he or she begins to feel itchy. Again, you bring your own moisturizers because you know they work for your child.
- Sleeping Kit – this includes bedsheets, blankets, and pillows that are hypoallergenic. It is always best for your child to sleep in bed sheets you know will not trigger a flare-up.
Prepare for the Environment
If your child is not old enough to take care of his or herself, it is strongly advised that you speak to the parents or hosts of where your child is staying. Let them know about your child's skin condition and any allergies he or she may have.
Consider suggesting some simple, non-invasive things they can do to make their house more comfortable for your child. For example, in the winter time, most houses turn on the heat high for warmth and comfort, but if the temperature is too high, the ambient moisture level in the house can be low. The dry and hot air can trigger an eczema flare-up. You can simply suggest placing a humidifier in the kids' room for the night. If the hosts don't have one, you can bring one over.
Prepare the right clothing
Eczema can be triggered by dust, heat, cigarette smoke, pet hair, and other allergens. It makes sense that your child wears cool clothing at all times. Long sleeved pajamas should only be worn if it is not hot and humid. This is great if the child will stay overnight.
Children can enjoy visiting other places without having to worry about eczema - all it takes is the appropriate preparation. As a parent, these preparations can be a huge undertaking, time-consuming, and may also be embarrassing to ask for these requests. Keep in mind that your patience will pay off once you see that big smile on your child's face!