Clothing: make the best choice
While many parents think that eczema is just a skin allergy, it is actually a multi-faceted problem. Children with eczema have a hard time sweating and thus cooling themselves. Kids with this skin condition can very easily get too hot.
What happens when a child with eczema gets too hot?
Their rash gets worse. The body tries to cool itself by sending more blood to the skin to aid cooling, but no cooling happens. Instead the child’s hot skin becomes redder, and more irritated, and itchy. Soon the child is scratching and interfering with healing of the rash.
While we cannot fix the child’s skin cooling system, we can be helpful by choosing to dress the child as lightly as possible. By choosing pants and shirts that are as short as possible, more skin is directly exposed to the air to facilitate cooling. When you choose fabric which is light and easily breathable, then air can better circulate through the fabric and assist cooling.
It can be a real challenge for parents (or grandparents) to follow the guidelines below because parents naturally want to protect their child from getting too cold and this can lead to overdressing.
You cannot determine a child’s temperature simply by putting your hand on the child’s skin.
- If your child is sweating, your child is too hot.
- If your child is shivering or has “goose bumps” on the arms or legs, your child is too cold.
Here are a series of suggestions which may help you decide what clothes to choose for your child.
Indoors, when the air temperature is pleasant (68-75 degrees):
- Choose: clothes made of light, breathable fabric to help circulate air and keep your child cool and comfortable. Light fabric onesies and light sleepers with footers are OK.
- Avoid: clothing with heavy, thick fabric which will prevent air circulation and lead your child to get too hot.
The right sleeping arrangement can also prevent overheating:
- Choose: pajamas or overnight clothes with light fabric that breathes well.
- Avoid: heavy blankets and “sleep sacks,” as they all trap heat, leading to an overheated child.
When outside in cold weather, choose a minimum of warm clothes. Promptly switch back to cool clothes indoors.
Is my child too hot?
If your child is sweating, your child is too hot.
Is my child too cold?
If your child is shivering or has “goose bumps” on the arms or legs, your child is too cold.