Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wet wraps for eczema

I'm ashamed to admit I have been putting off this post for so long.  It's one thing  I could post that could potentially help people more than just about anything else I could write.  Someone emailed me about the National Jewish hospital and was thinking about taking her little one there.  When she told me about how her child scratched and itched and was in pain I felt ridiculous for not doing this sooner.  So here is to all the kiddos out there who shouldn't have to scratch so much.

My Cheyenner Nanners has eczema.  Lots of it, all over her darling little body.  The annoying thing about eczema is that you can't heal it.  You can make it go away, but it's just in hiding.  Your skin can be baby butt smooth, but the eczema is still there waiting to flare up.

There are zillions of things that can cause eczema flares.  Stress, sickness, weather changes, fragrances, food allergies, dust mites, or pet dander, just for a start.

The most effective way to make eczema go into hiding (as I like to call it), is with wet wraps.  Wet wraps are time consuming but very easy and from what I hear, most kids don't mind it at all. Cheyenne sure doesn't.

Here is what you will need: 2 pairs of pajamas,  1 small towel, 2-4 pairs of knee high socks, Vanicream or Aquaphor and your eczema creams.  National Jewish Hospital recommends the Vanicream. I personally saw better results with the Aquaphor.  The eczema creams I have are prescription but you can get over the counter ones. Prescription ones are stronger and will work faster.

I recommend going to a doctor for your eczema to get the prescriptions that are right for you or your child.  Also, eczema can be a side effect from food allergies so it is very important that you look into this.

Instead of pajamas you could use long johns or anything light weight and tight fitting and a pair of something looser such as sweat pants and a sweat shirt.  If you have eczema on your neck make sure the tight layer is a turtle neck.

Once you have all your stuff together, take a bath.  Soak and play for a minimum of 15 minutes. A towel around the shoulders will get water to soak all into the upper back and shoulders.  For older children and adults, a shower will do just as well as a bath.  A shower also needs to be a minimum of 15 minutes.  In severe cases stay in the water for up to 30 minutes.

Don't use any soap in the bath til the very end. You don't want to be soaking in the soap.  Make sure your soap is sent and dye free. 

After you get out of the tub pat the skin with a towel. The goal is to not be dripping wet and also too keep as much water on you as possible.  Put the eczema creams where you have eczema and the Vanicream or Aquaphor everywhere else,  do not layer them.

Next you need to soak the tight pajamas and two pairs of the socks in warm water. If you use soap in the bath do not use the bath water to get em wet. You can put the socks on first or the pajamas.  Doesn't matter.  Cheyenne likes socks on second so she can do sock puppets.

See what I mean about the turtle neck for neck eczema?

Now layer your looser pair of pajamas and a dry pair of knee high socks on the arms and legs.  I like using footie pajamas cause then you don't need the second pair of socks on the feet.  All you have left is one hour of sock puppet shows.  Stay in this get up for up to two hours but a minimum of one hour.

The fabulous thing about wet wraps is that you don't have to do all of that if you don't have whole body eczema.  Just wet wrap the parts that do have it.  Just make sure you have a light weight tight fitting wet layer followed by a medium weight looser dry layer (and your creams and lotions). 

We currenlty use wet wraps less than once a month.  You can use them 3 times a day if you need to.  This heals eczema very quickly.  I have seen children who have eczema so badly that they look like they have black eyes and within 5 days it is 95% gone!

A big thank you to National Jewish Health for teaching this to me.  It has saved my Nanners from countless sleepless nights scratching til she bleeds.  If you have a kiddo with food allergies and or eczema, the eczema and allergy program is a Godsend!  Read about our experience in the program here and our allergy testing results here.

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