Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Scratching - Information for parents

Some tips to reduce scratching:

  • Use treatment prescribed. For example, emollients, steroids, bandages, etc.
  • Scratching can become a habit so use activities to distract your child when this occurs.
  • Try not to tell your child to ‘stop scratching’. This usually results in upsetting your child and can lead to more vigorous scratching.
  • Give praise when your child doesn’t scratch. For example, star charts or stickers to reward not scratching.
  • Make your child aware of when he/she scratches and the damage it does. This awareness can help you to teach other ways to help the itch, e.g. clenching fists, rubbing or pinching the skin rather than scratching.
  • Be aware of times of the day when scratching is worse, e.g. when your child is tired, hungry or upset. This can help you plan ahead, e.g. by doing treatments as soon as a child gets home from school if this is when they are particularly tired and likely to scratch.
  • Be aware a change in temperature can induce scratching, e.g. at bath time or undressing.
  • Cut nails short.
  • Cover hands with cotton gloves, Tubifast or socks at night if this is when scratching occurs.
  • Discuss with your doctor the use of sedating anti-histamine (ant-itch) to use at night to help your child sleep if this is a problem. Non-sedating anti-histamines do not usually reduce the itchiness of eczema.do not usually reduce the itchiness of eczema.

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