Common eczema triggers
Awareness is key in managing eczema in local classrooms. Teachers should be apprised of the specific triggers for eczema sufferers in their class but the following list, provided by the US National Eczema Association, has good examples of common triggers.
Ÿ Irritants: wool clothing, carpets, plastic chairs, many ordinary soaps, laundry powders, chemicals and metals.
Ÿ Allergens: pollen, dust, pet dander, some foods (such as eggs, milk, peanuts, citrus fruit), food colouring and preservatives.
Ÿ Temperature extremes: cold or hot weather. Children should sit away from windows and radiators.
Ÿ Sweating: avoid sweating if possible.
Ÿ Stress: whether caused by worry over school, physical discomfort or social problems, stress can exacerbate eczema.
Ÿ Ingredients in lotions and creams: some moisturisers may contain chemicals or perfumes that are eczema triggers. Discuss with parents what moisturisers can be used, and which should be avoided.
Teachers should take note that children with eczema may be affected by regular school activities. The following are common examples:
Ÿ Arts and crafts: cotton or cotton-lined rubber gloves can help minimise contact with irritants like paint, glue, chemicals and metals.
Ÿ Physical activity (gym class, recess): wearing cotton may help with sweating during exertion, while applying a moisturiser before and after swimming can keep skin from drying out.
Ÿ School trips and outings: take extra care when organising anything outside the usual routine; discuss upcoming events with parents and plan ahead to avoid triggering flares.