Suitable eczema clothing made a significant difference to my daughter, especially considering the fact that children with eczema can have very sensitive skin and therefore getting the balance of the temperature they feel just right is of the upmost importance.
I often find that when my daughter was feeling cold she would start to scratch and the same would apply if she felt too hot. To give some control over the temperature she felt, I dressed her in cotton clothes only, ranging from underwear to jumpers (from top to toe). Cotton is a natural material which lets the skin breath unlike synthetic materials which can make the child feel hot and sweaty.
I didn't just let my daughter sleep in her nappy when it was hot because this would have resulted in her having a free for all scratch fest. So I think some form of clothing like pyjamas is very important.
Night times were an incredibly difficult time and I had to not only struggle with severely interrupted sleep but with the distress of seeing my child suffering so much. She just couldn't stop scratching and when she'd get out of bed in the morning, she could have large areas of red raw skin from all the scratching.
I tried using pyjamas cotton ones and silk ones, but this made no difference, as it was too easy for her to scratch her body. She had easy access to her legs, arms and her tummy from being able to pull her pyjama bottoms and pyjama top up and start scratching. The pyjamas left her hands completely exposed so she was free to use her hands with to scratch all night.
I decided to sew the ends of the pyjama top and the pyjama bottoms up, to restrict her access to her legs and arms but this didn't work because, she'd pull the pyjama bottoms off and start scratching.
I bought specialist pyjamas designed for children with eczema, which made an incredible difference. Like I had tried with the ordinary pyjamas earlier on, the specialist pyjamas covers the child's feet and hands, which restricts their ability to expose their body to their scratching and because their hands are covered too, they really find it difficult to scratch.
Where I had failed in keeping the two pieces of pyjamas together, the specialist pyjama used a dungaree like bottom which fastens over a longer pyjama top. This stops the pyjamas coming off accidentally or by force.
With the pyjama tops being full sleeved along with the added benefit of her hands being enclosed in mitten like ends, access to her arms and hands was restricted. We did however, have to make a small adjustment, as our daughter sucks her thumb, I had to cut a slit on the end in the mitten part, so that she could get access to her favourite thumb.
The bottoms are like a pair of dungarees which fasten at the top with strap like extensions, so in effect you end up with a restricted set of pyjamas which can not be easily pulled to expose the body.
Another important feature to check is whether the stitching is on the outside making the pyjamas look inside out. This is for a very good reason, as the stitched seams themselves can irritate the skin, causing the scratching to increase. Make sure the pyjamas are also made from 100% cotton which ensures the skin doesn't have to suffer from excess heat caused by synthetic materials.
Whilst this type of pyjama does not completely eliminate the scratching, as the chid can still rub their ankles against their opposing legs to scratch, they do reduce the scratching considerably and even a 10%, 20% , 50% to 90% drop in scratching is always welcome.
Unfortunately these types of pyjamas are not exactly cheap and we spent a lot but it did help us considerably and we're still using these types of pyjama to this day.
Initially we invested in 7 sets, a lot of money, but it was a case of anything to get some sleep and for our daughter to get some sleep too. At least with one set per day, I didn't have to worry about washing and ensuring that I had pyjamas for her.
We did try one set of these pyjamas which was a one piece item but these were difficult to take off during the night when we took our daughter to the toilet. The last thing you want to do when your tired and drowsy is fiddle about trying to get the pyjamas off.
If you decide to choose specialist pyjamas make sure they have:
- Stitching on the outside
- Made from 100% Cotton
- They cover the feet and hands
- Are easy to take off
Over time, washing clothes will cause bobbles to appear which can rub against the skin and cause irritation. Regularly replacing clothing may not be an option due to the costs involved and removing the bobbles by hand can be an effort in itself, especially when there could be several items of clothing that will need looking at.
Using a machine to remove these bobbles is the best course of action and these are available at most of the larger stores. You can also do a search for 'bobble remover' on the internet to see if there is a local stockist.
I still use my bobble machine to remove the bobbles off my daughters specialist pyjamas as she plays merrily in the bath, then once she's been dried, I put on her emollient cream and into the specialist pyjamas.
Finally, another thing to look at are children's nails, both on feet and hands. Nails grow incredibly quickly and I found I had to stay on top to ensure they were cut and filed regularly. Once a child realises their nails can help with their scratching, it can be difficult for them to stop.
I still cut and file my daughters nails on a weekly basis, paying particular attention every few days to assess the nail growth and always having a nail cutter and nail file hand, even when we're out.
So in conclusion we found that the scratching could be reduced by using specialist eczema clothing.