If you've become frustrated with trying to manage your child's eczema symptoms, you might want to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to try an effective technique called wet wrap therapy. This strategy is intended for severe symptoms that don't respond well to other remedies.
This therapy involves essential steps to replenish skin's natural moisture.
First, the child bathes in warm water for around 20 minutes. Upon exiting the tub, the child has the excess water patted away and eczema medicine, such as a corticosteroid medication, applied to the damp skin. A special moisturizer may be applied to unaffected skin. These substances seal in the water so it doesn't evaporate.
Second, the affected areas are wrapped in warm, wet, thin fabric, such as gauze, and covered with dry fabric. The entire body can be wrapped or just a small area, such as the hands.
Third, the wrap is removed after about two hours.
A dermatologist may recommend using the steroid medication for a week or two and then switching to moisturizer, since steroid treatments can begin having side effects over time. You may be able to continue using the moisturizer wet wrap regularly to hydrate your child's dry skin, according to the doctor's instructions.
Benefits of Wet Wrap Therapy
The technique has several benefits.
- holds in moisture
- boosts topical medication's effectiveness
- reduces itching and inflammation
- decreases harmful bacteria on the skin; staphylococcus infections are common in eczema
Although the strategy has been used to a certain extent for many years, it has not yet become mainstream. Its effectiveness wasn't confirmed through research until 2014, when a medical doctor and his colleagues evaluated the strategy. Children in the study generally experienced substantial improvement in their eczema symptoms after only four days.
See a Dermatologist
Initially, having the therapy provided at a dermatology clinic is important to make sure it's done right. Although the steps are simple, there can be a significant amount of work involved. While learning how to make and apply a wet wrap, parents may feel distracted by a fussy young child who is aggravated by itchy, sore skin.
In addition, wet wraps typically should not be applied to infected skin, so you'll want the dermatologist to perform an examination first. Also, the dermatologist can make an informed decision about how many times per day the child should have the treatment.
When you're ready to apply the wet wraps yourself, a nurse can watch you practice, offer assistance and verify when you've mastered the technique. For more information, see http://desertdermatology.net/.