13% of children in the US have eczema—and it can have a major impact on their experience at school. Itch can make it hard to focus in the classroom. Getting sweaty during P.E. or recess can cause skin to flare. Kids can be unkind—a survey by the National Eczema Association found that 20% of children with eczema are bullied because of their skin; and two thirds of those children experienced self-esteem issues as a result. Other students, their parents, teachers, and staff can wrongly assume that eczema is contagious.
For parents, it can be an anxious time. You may be worried about whether your child is scratching a lot at school, whether they’ll be allergic to something at lunch, if they have access to the moisturizers and medicines they need, and how their eczema will impact their social lives and academic performance.
Know that with extra planning, a seamless transition back to school is possible. Here’s how to ensure that your child has the tools they need to manage their skin and have a positive experience at school.
Parents across the country are preparing for their children’s return to school. It’s a time that’s full of anticipation and for some, added anxiety. When your child is managing a skin condition, like eczema, additional plans are needed to ensure a seamless transition back to school.
How to Help Your Child Deal With Eczema at School
Inform School Staff About Your Child’s Skin
Not everybody knows about the profound impact eczema can have on children’s lives. A teacher may not understand that a child’s eczema is what’s causing them to fidget and be distracted in class. School administrators may not get that your child can’t sleep at night because of itchiness—and that’s why they’re so tired during the school day.
Get in touch with the school principal and your child’s classroom teacher prior to the start of the school year and set up a meeting to discuss your child’s eczema. Know that they’re likely not the only person you’ll need to educate: cafeteria supervisors need to be informed of any food allergies, PE teachers and coaches need to know that sweating and overheating can lead to itchiness, and all adults at school need to know what to do in the event that your child experiences an itching attack or allergic reaction. The more you can equip school staff with information, the more you’ll help ensure that your child is set up for success and their eczema is appropriately managed during the school day.
Make Sure Your Child Has Access to Their Creams
Speak to your child’s teacher or school nurse and make sure they’re able to easily access the right creams, as well as any other eczema supplies they might need, during the school day. Some parents put together eczema kits to keep in their children’s classroom or school nurse’s office that include cream, cotton gloves, non-stick gauze pads, bandages, spare clothes, and other supplies. Depending on their age, school rules, and accommodations, you may also be able to pack your child’s cream directly in their backpack.
Gladskin Eczema Cream for Babies & Kids is a steroid-free and oatmeal-free, moisturizing eczema treatment that restores bacterial balance to the skin so it can heal. It’s clinically proven to work fast. Four out of five users see noticeable results in as early as three days. Learn more.
Put Care Plans in Place
There are several types of care plans you can use to ensure that your child can access the routine and emergency care that they need and that the school will make appropriate accommodations for their eczema.
- Emergency Care Plan: This plan details the actions the school will take if your child has a medical emergency.
- Individual Health Care Plan: An Individual Health Care Plan, also sometimes called an Individual Care Plan, is a plan prepared by your school nurse in conjunction with you, your child, and their doctor. It details your child’s medical needs, how the school will monitor and address them, and who will provide medical care to your child. The structure of these plans can vary by state and by school district.
- 504 Plan: A 504 plan is a legally binding document that ensures that students with disabilities receive the accommodations they need in order to be successful at school. All schools that receive federal funding are required to comply with a 504 plan.
To prepare a 504 plan, parents meet with teachers and the necessary school administrators to discuss their child’s condition and identify how accommodations will be made. Accommodations for food, clothing, access to moisturizing cream and medical supplies, recess, and physical education, and other eczema- or allergy- related matters can be addressed in a 504 plan.
What to Know as the Parent of a Child With Eczema
Sending your kid off to school means letting go of some of the day-to-day management of their skin condition. You can advocate for your child by raising awareness of atopic dermatitis among school staff and making sure they receive the care and accommodations that will set them up for success at school . And remember: if itching is causing distraction in the classroom, consider Gladskin Eczema Cream to help alleviate redness and itching. With the right tools, you and your child can thrive this school year!