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Less discomfort, more fun: 6 useful tips for handling your child's eczema this summer.

QV
Thanks to our brand partner, QV

Australian summer is all about getting outdoors and enjoying the beach or the local pool.

While this can be amazing, for kids with eczema all this activity can create issues for their highly sensitive skin, which is hard for parents to manage.

My two sons both have eczema. While Toby has grown out of the worst of it at aged nine, my youngest Leo is still battling with it on his legs and arms.

Over the years we have learnt what works and what doesn’t when it comes to managing the boys’ eczema during the warmer months.

Here are my personal tips to help you and your family still have some summer fun amid the eczema flare-ups.

1. Shower cool and gentle.

I hope it’s not just our family but after a day out at the pool, the park or the beach, the kids – and adults – are pretty filthy. There’s sand, dirt and sunscreen residue to take care of and if everyone is tired and sweaty, we opt for time-saving, water-saving and frankly, sanity-saving, cool showers.

The whole family has dry skin and three out of four of us have eczema, so we stay well away from scented shower gels and soaps.

This actually makes life easy as we use a giant 1kg bottle of soap-free QV Intensive Moisturising Cleanser. I find it is cost effective, since most of us are using it. It’s dermatologically tested, and for us it feels nice, creamy and super hydrating.

Because of Leo’s increasingly frequent flare-ups, we’re using QV’s Flare Up range more often now. Doctors often recommend a “bleach bath”, but it can be too hard to get right – you really don’t want to put too much or too little in.

The QV Flare Up Bath Oil has easy-to-follow instructions on the back and even includes an indicator so I can feel confident there is the perfect amount of treatment in the bath. The QV Flare Up Wash and QV Flare Up Bath Oil  both help to reduce the levels of bacteria on the skin, and I find that it soothes their skin and leaves it soft.

When he uses the wash, I just have to keep a close eye or else handfuls of the foam will end up being smeared gleefully across the shower screen!

2. Cover up, slather up.

laura jackel
Rashies, not rashes! Image: Supplied.
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My two boys have very fair skin thanks to their English/Irish heritage and so even if they didn’t have eczema, we would be insisting on rash vests and board shorts at the beach or the pool.

My husband Jules and I are both fair skinned so we too wear our long-sleeved swimmers with pride. Not having to constantly reapply the sunscreen all over everyone’s bodies (but obviously keeping our faces well sunscreened) also means barely any sunburn and there’s more time for swimming or building sandcastles.

Find a good sunscreen that doesn't have fragrances that make them react. I have found that the cheaper ones with more fragrance are the worst for eczema. Just go for something that's made for sensitive skin, and test it on yourself first.

3. Moisturise regularly.

Leo needs regular moisturiser on his eczema-prone skin, so during the summer months, we keep a big bottle of QV Intensive with Ceramides Light Moisturising Cream on hand to help keep his skin hydrated. I steal it all the time for my legs and arms as I've heard how great ceramides are for your skin, and I find it helps prevent dryness.

Since he's outdoors so much more in summer, keeping his skin clean and hydrated every day is top of my list. The drama of the extra itch from super dry skin just isn't fun for anyone.

While sometimes Leo isn't so receptive to my demands (come here, Mum wants to moisturise), when we put his special cream on I have been known to have to chase him around the house while he squeals in delight at this ‘game’.

Thankfully I find the moisturiser absorbs FAST which is ideal for impatient toddlers and busy mums and dads.

4. Keep nails short and sweet. And if not, try cotton mittens.

Toby’s eczema got so bad one year that he had to wear special white cotton gloves at night to stop him itching.

The poor kid didn’t want to wear them for long, but he was right into Spider-Man at the time so we made up an excellent story that gave him web-shooting superpowers from his eczema gloves!

Leo hasn’t got into that much trouble as yet, BUT we do try to ensure his nails are trimmed short and kept clean so that even if he does scratch a little, there is not too much damage he can do.

5. Steroid creams and antihistamines (it rhymes!).

If your child's eczema is worse than usual, the soap-free washes and intensive creams are a great duo, but our doctor advised we add in a mild corticosteroid cream when needed. They are available to purchase from all pharmacies and we always have a tube in our bathroom cabinet just in case. Remember to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using steroid creams.

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Antihistamines to help with intense itching is fine for Leo and Toby too – something else we keep in the cupboard for eczema flare-ups. Again, just remember to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the right antihistamines to use and when to use them.

6. Keep calm and carry on.

leo
Leo was happy with his boogie board one moment, crying the next. Image: Supplied.

At a beach last week, we had not been as vigilant as we should with Leo’s eczema. He had been fully covered up, yet the mix of all that fun in the sand, heat, salty sea water and chlorinated pool caught up with him.

On the last day, he ran screaming from the sea asking not to be touched, his poor legs had got so sore.

I felt awful, so we found some shade and stripped him down, put him in dry clothes until the stinging sensation from the saltwater subsided.

He didn’t want cuddles as his skin was so sensitive so he just sat on my lap while I sang him a song and tried all my best mummy soothing tricks.

He soon cheered up. When we got back home, he had a cool shower and felt so much better.

By that time, he was ready for plenty of cuddles. And sometimes, cuddles from mum or dad can be the final ingredient that makes it all that much better.

How do you care for your kids with eczema? Any tips to share? Tell us below.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.

QV

Australian made and trusted by generations, QV has been specially formulated for people with sensitive and problematic skin. Working closely with Dermatologists, QV has developed a full range of products that are suitable for use with eczema prone skin, including daily maintenance, and in a flare up. At QV, we understand that eczema is not only a physical skin condition, but also has an emotional impact on quality of life. That's why at QV we are backed by science to deliver the most effective products to help manage problematic skin. QV - Together we're stronger.

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