National Eczema Week – 13 to 21 September 2014

National Eczema Week - Applying Cream

Two of my girls suffer from atopic eczema, a skin condition that affects one in five children in the UK. Life can be tough for them. They start feeling the itch. They scratch.  Their skin breaks. It gets more and more itchy. They scratch some more. Patches of skin become inflamed. Clothes stick to the affected areas. Their skin gets infected. Their behaviour changes. They regress. It is a vicious circle.

“Tell them not to scratch,” I hear you say.

How about you try to stop breathing for five minutes?

“Impossible,” you reply, puzzled.

When eczema gets out of control, scratching becomes as vital to them as breathing is to all of us.

So far, we have dealt with it in the comfort of our home, but when they start school full-time and the central heating is turned on, they will be vulnerable. How will it affect them? How will other children react to their constant scratching, to the appearance of their skin?

Eczema is a visible condition, which at best will attract attention and at worst, mockery and bullying. Children are blunt. They are not always cruel intentionally, but they say things the way they see them. When they spot another child scratching, their first reaction will probably be that they have something catching.

I am not the kind of mum who wants to overprotect her children forever, but I am worried about the fact my daughters’ self-confidence might be tested when they start school. They are strong, determined little girls with fiery personalities now, but they are only human.

Today sees the launch of National Eczema Week. A brand new free resource, ‘All about eczema – an information pack for schools’ can be downloaded here. The pack is aimed at parents and teachers. It focuses on the challenges children with eczema face in the school environment and how to overcome them.

It “provides an overview of the condition with advice on how teachers can help a child with eczema to integrate into both their class and the school routine through a series of activities and lesson plan resources in different formats and for different suggested age groups, equips teachers with tools to teach their class about eczema in order to encourage understanding and compassion amongst a child’s peers.” (National Eczema Society’s website).

If you are a parent or a teacher, can you please help by ensuring schools in your area know about this free resource?

Here is a list of Helpline Live events taking place over the next few days:
Saturday 13th September – Union Square, Torquay
Sunday 14th September – Ashford County Shopping Centre, Ashford
Monday 15th September – Trafford Centre , Manchester
Tuesday 16th September – Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull
Wednesday 17th September – Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston
Thursday 18th September – Kirkgate Shopping Centre, Bradford
Friday 19th September – Kingsgate Shopping Centre, Dunfermline
Saturday 20th September – Oxford Westgate Shopping Centre, Castle Street, Oxford
Sunday 21st September – Intu Watford, 201 The Harlequin, Watford

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Comments

  1. Great post Mel. You are so right! The more people learn about things the less judgemental they will be . Adults will share their knowledge with their little ones and the world will be a better place 😉

  2. Alexandra Mercer (Life of mummy) says:

    You’re doing a great job at raising awareness and letting others know what they can do to help. x

    • Thanks Alex! The pack is a great reminder for myself, too and I think I will use some of the activities to teach my little ones at home.

  3. Thanks for this great round up of #eczemaweek and the local events. I am a pharmacist and also specialise in Allergy UK approved cosmetics/skincare for mums with eczema/allergies/sensitive skin/eyes and both my son’s suffered when they were younger and still have flare ups after swimming. Other children have asked why their wrists are sore, so I’ve encouraged them to say it’s eczema and it isn’t catching 🙂

  4. Brilliant post Mel to help raise awareness. My little boy has a skin condition which I though was eczema but lucky for us our GP is skin specialist and advised us that he actually has something called Keratosis Pilaris. Apparently it is something he is likely to grow out of.

  5. To be honest the fact that most school uniforms are made from horrible cheap material does not help a child with eczema. We’ve bought cotton and some organic bits but they are so expensive, I’d love to kit my 5yo out entirely in natural fibers.

    Out of interest which cream do you use on Jumpy? We have Epaderme but 5yo has been flaring up lately and I wonder if it’s time to use something else…

    • I agree with you when it comes to uniform. It is even worse for girls as they wear skirts and my little ones’ skin gets worse when exposed in colder weather. I will have to try and find good tights for them. Let me know if you know of decent brands that are not infuriatingly expensive.

      We use Epaderm ointment on the girls but I find it really greasy. As it is not hygienic for school, I have given the pre-school a bottle (with pump) of Dermol 500, which is what we wash them with. It is a light moisturiser but it will have to do for now.

  6. I love this post. It’s good to raise awareness of eczema, because it can cause children to stand out and also it’s no fun having ot live with the itch even without looks from others. I had some experiences with itchy, inflamed skin (not sure if it was eczema) as a child and teen, and it was not a fun experience.

    • Thanks a lot for your comment, Astrid. I really hope they manage to feel comfortable at school. I might be overthinking (isn’t tat what parents do?). We shall see.

  7. Great post. Well done for raising awareness.
    I’ve suffered from eczema myself since I was 8 and it gets VERY painful in winter. I can’t stop scratching either! I recognise the bottle of Dermol in the photo – I have one of those at every sink in my house for washing my hands with and for moisturising when it gets out of control. I also have to use steroid cream, which I know everyone wants to avoid, but nothing else works! It’s hard for kids because of the judgement of other children, but it’s hard for adults too – as we’re the ones preparing the food and cleaning and all of these things are a very painful irritation.
    Popping over from Autism Mumma.

    • Dermol is nice for washing, isn’t it? I wish there was a good, thick cream that could relieve their sore skin and not get as greasy as the thick layer of emollient I have to apply on their skin regularly.

  8. Both my girls have started itching uncontrollably and it’s horrible to see them scratching their skin till it bleeds. We’ve been to the doctors, he did mention eczema but wasn’t sure. He’s given them E45, some other itch cream and piriton. I think I’m going to have to take them back because it’s been a couple of weeks since they went and nothing is really working 🙁

  9. My daughter suffers from something like this at seasonal changes-it affects the back of her legs particularly. And she scratches until they bleed. Very hard isn’t it. And we’re lucky in that it isn’t all of the time.

    • It is not nice, but they have to live with it and they are generally doing really well, bless them. I hope your daughter does not get it too badly this winter.

  10. My daughter has eczema too. I guess you could call it mild, but when it’s acting up, she wakes up at night and scratches all over! Makes me feel really helpless 🙁 #wotw.

    • It does, doesn’t it? My little Jumpy started scratching this morning and kept shouting “ants, ants!” It must be awful having the itch constantly at the back of their mind, even when their skin looks ‘good’.

  11. This is a great post, Mel, you’re doing a fab job raising awareness. That brand new pack for schools sounds like a really good idea, as I know my daughter hasn’t seen eczema before, but if the teacher simply explained it, she’d accept it and not question it further – that can be sometimes all little ones need, I think. I hope they are OK when they start school, and it sounds like you’re doing all they can to prepare, too x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Thanks Jocelyn. The pack is pretty good. It is free and teachers can select activities they want to focus on and print them.

  12. Kim Carberry says:

    Fab post!! You’re doing a great job of raising awareness!

  13. Victoria Welton says:

    Eczema really is such a major issue – and this coupled with asthma has affected my Mum’s side of the family for years. I used to get eczema so badly so I really feel for your little ones Mel. A great post and a great way to share. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

    • So many people have to live with eczema… I wish there was a cure for it. It is not easy seeing people you love having to scratch constantly to relieve the awful tingling sensation & dryness they are getting on their skin.

  14. I get mild eczema too and agree that there’s no stopping the itching so I really feel for your girls. I hope that raising awareness, both with them and among their peers will minimise the emotional hurt they may be exposed to and I hope you can find ways to make things better when they have flare ups.

    • It is starting to come back already… One of my girls is refusing to have ointment on at the moment (hates the greasiness), which is really frustrating as I can see her scratch but have to fight to apply what will help relieve it.

  15. Great post and its so important to raise awareness of things that others may not see as the norm. T, D and I all have really sensitive skin so have to be aware of what we use and wear. Stress doesnt help either. Thanks for linking up with #wellbeingwednesday

Trackbacks

  1. […] the fairies!” • You turned four, a couple of weeks ago and what a big girl you are! • Your eczema is coming back with a vengeance. • You have a new best friend at pre-school. You are inseparable […]

Thanks for taking the time to write a little message. Comments always make me smile! x Mel