Help with Children and School with Eczema

Eczema in the classroom:
School can be both physically and socially challenging for children with eczema

Over one million children affected by eczema will be heading back to school this fall with more on their minds than just meeting their new teachers and classmates. At an age when social acceptance is very important, many children with the disease fear that they will be teased by their classmates. "Children with eczema often endure hurtful comments from peers because of the appearance of their skin," said Dr. Maha Haroun, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. "A child suffering from eczema may feel uncomfortable in social settings and require additional emotional support and understanding from family members and teachers."

Here are a few important facts for teachers and parents to help children better cope with the disease and its consequences.

Children with eczema may be self-conscious

A child's self-esteem is very fragile and children with eczema may be particularly self-conscious about the appearance of their skin. The child may be teased by classmates and subject to hurtful comments from his or her peers. The child may also resist wearing shorts or T-shirts because of embarrassment. You may choose to address this issue delicately with your child by discussing such subjects as diversity, tolerance, and bullying in the classroom. Remind your child that eczema is NOT contagious and is not caused by poor hygiene.

Some activities might make it worse

A child suffering from eczema may not be able to participate in certain activities, as these activities may make the condition worse. Excessive perspiration during physical activity and certain materials used in some arts and crafts may put the child at risk of a flare up. Eczema on the child's fingers may make it difficult for the child to hold a pair of scissors or even a crayon or pen.

The child may not be able to sit still

When suffering from eczema, a child may not be able to sit still because of the constant urge to scratch. It's very difficult for the child to resist scratching, but constant scratching will irritate the skin and cause a flare-up. The resulting cracked skin can lead to a secondary infection. Often the child may not even realize that they are scratching and he or she simply needs to be reminded to stop in a quiet, discrete way.

The child may feel tired and drowsy

Drowsiness, fatigue, and poor concentration may be caused by sleepless nights due to the constant itch and physical discomfort. This may even affect their ability to complete homework assignments at times.

To help children with eczema get through the school year with flying colours, please visit our website or call 1 (866) 432-0362 to receive complimentary fact-based information that you can pass along to your child's teachers, guidance counsellors and school nurse.

- News Canada

Meet the teacher!
Stronger relationships between parents and teachers may help children cope with eczema

Open dialogue between parents and teachers is essential to the effective management of eczema and the well-being of the child. Parents might find it helpful to discuss their child's condition and treatments with their child's teacher at the beginning of the school year. Parents are encouraged to work closely with teachers to help alleviate some of the anxiety, fear and discomfort caused by the disease. Through awareness, support and education in the classroom, it is possible to create a positive learning and social environment for a child suffering from eczema.

Here is a check list for parents to help ease the anxiety and discomfort often associated with eczema in the classroom and to foster stronger relationships between teachers and children (and their parents) who are coping with chronic skin diseases.

. To avoid perspiration, which can make eczema worse, ask the teacher to seat your child away from heat sources like sunny windows, air vents or radiators.

. If school uniforms are required, ask whether a cotton alternative would be acceptable.

. Speak to the physical education teacher if sports activities need to be adapted to your child's needs.

. Prepare your child for the possibility that he or she may become the object of teasing and, if possible, sensitize his or her classmates to the subject of the eczema. Clearly explain that eczema is not contagious.

. Ask the teacher to conduct a class discussion to introduce such subjects as diversity, tolerance, bullying.

. School activities that require the manipulation of glue, paint, clay, foods, wood or metal can cause eczema flare-ups. Discuss alternatives with your child's teacher.

. Inform the people in charge at school of all food allergies and be sure that your child knows the foods that he or she must avoid eating.

. It's difficult for children not to scratch their eczema. Inform teachers that scratching can be an unconscious reaction and that it is okay to sometimes remind the child not to scratch.

. Your child may be required to apply topical medication during the day. He or she may require the teacher's assistance or that of the school nurse.

To help children with eczema get through the school year with flying colours, please visit our website or call 1 (866) 432-0362 to receive complimentary fact-based information that you can pass along to your child's teachers, guidance counsellors and school nurse.

- News Canada


Eczema and Children and School

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