If you have noticed that your child is waking up with irritated skin they may be suffering from a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis. The first step is to see your GP to get an accurate diagnosis on the skin condition and advice on how best to treat the issue. They may then refer your child to a dermatologist depending on the severity of the issues. Although many parents find it tempting to try to treat it at home based on what they read online, this can often worsen the issue and cause long term damage.
It can take time for the treatment to take effect and during this time it can be difficult to stop your child scratching themselves in the night. With that in mind, there are several steps you can take to assist with the healing process.
Being aware of what soaps, shampoos etc your child uses is key in preventing irritated skin, particularly before they go to bed. Harsh chemicals can make eczema a lot worse along with bathing your child too often. When your child takes a bath, you should be sure to use GP approved products-usually fragrance free and to not have the temperature too hot.
Maintaining a regular sleeping pattern for your child is also key as eczema can flare up and become itchier in the evening. Start by applying a GP approved unfragranced moisturiser to the affected areas around half an hour before their bedtime. Then ensure that the room is allergen free, keeping out pets and using cotton sheets to keep your child cool. Also, make baby or toddler wear protective scratch mittens and pyjama sets from Scratch Sleeves to minimise scratching by fingers and toes at night.
By scratching their skin in the night, your child may start to bleed or infect themselves. In this situation, you may want to implement rewards for them not scratching such as verbal praise or a reward chart. You may also want to regularly cut their fingernails but not too short otherwise their fingertips will become painful. If their symptoms are particularly bad in the night, your GP may be able to prescribe antihistamine to help during these times.
Your child’s diet may also be a contributing factor in the severity of their skin condition. Many skin conditions can come about from exposure to foods such as dairy, citrus fruits, nuts and chocolate. If you believe that one of these foods could be causing your child’s skin condition you should visit a GP before cutting it out so your child can be tested.
Overheating or excessive sweating can often irritate damaged skin which is why ensuring your child isn’t overheating is key. If your child has been running around or engaging in sports it is important that you keep them dry and cool as possible after. Wearing loose cotton clothing can also help with this.
Following the advice of your GP as well as taking these points into account should ensure that your child is as comfortable as possible throughout the day and therefore will reduce the risk of their skin being triggered in the evening.