Anyone who has suffered with or who has a child with eczema knows that it can have a devastating effect on family life; disrupting sleep, making life generally uncomfortable and affecting confidence and self-esteem. Eczema affects 1 in 5 children in the UK with atopic being the most common form, occurring in people who are prone to allergies. In such cases, your environment can play a huge role in how eczema is managed. Of course, there isn’t much you can do to control the outside world, but in your home there are a myriad irritation zones that can aggravate eczema. We take a look at the areas of your home that might be triggering or irritating your child’s eczema and how to avoid them…
- Vaccum and if possible wash curtains regularly. Consider replace curtains with roller blinds as they collect less dust.
- Furniture seams are great little homes for nasty dust mites. Try to vacuum sofa cushion seams and think about leather or faux leather furniture as they trap less dust than fabric and are easy to clean. More practical for sticky fingers too!
- When dusting, use a damp duster so that you’re collecting the dust, rather than simply moving it around.
- Use an emollient wash instead of soap when washing your hands before preparing food
- Avoid direct contact of cleaning fluids with skin and try to use washing up gloves where possible.
- When you can, wash at at least 60°C to kill house dustmites.
- Use no-bio washing powder and avoid fabric conditioner
- To avoid washing powder residues in bed clothes, towels and clothing, use a double rinse cycle.
- If you have carpets, vacuum daily – dust mites like especially like to snuggle up by the skirting boards, so although it’s a pain, its a good idea to pay particular attention to those areas of your child’s room. When the time comes to redecorate, you may want to think about ditching the carpet altogether and going for a wood or laminate floor instead.
- Keep the room cool, around 18 °C and humidity low as dry air can dry the skin, but humid air can cause mould and house dust mite growth – both of which are bad for eczema. A humidity level of around 50% is about right – you can measure humidity with a hygrometer and reduce humidity with a dehumidifier. If the air is too dry, a bowl of clean water near a warm radiator will help
- Use cotton bedding and wash weekly
- Use Duvets and pillows with man made fibre
- Minimise soft toys and put in freezer regularly for 24 hours to kill dust mites
- Keep pets out of bedrooms, especially at night
- Avoid using soap or bubble bath use an emollient wash or bath oil instead. Make sure you have a non slip bath mat as bath oils and emollients will make the bath extra slippery.
- Use soft cotton towels and dab dry, don’t rub. Make sure you use a different towel for each person to avoid infecting any eczema.
- Use a shampoo suitable for eczema and not more than twice a week. Babies and toddlers up to 18 months can have their hair washed in bath water containing emollient oil.