National Eczema Society has heard from many parents via our Helpline who are worried about the impact of using hand sanitisers and increased hand-washing when their children go back to school. We have some tips for managing hand eczema in light of these precautions below, and an information sheet here, that you can print out and show the school.
- Parents/carers may need to discuss with the school before term or on the first day of term the importance of children being able to bring their own soap to school and double-washing (washing first with soap for 20 seconds and then with emollient). If your child has an Individual Health Care Plan for managing eczema in school, the hand-washing instructions should be amended.
- We advise that children bring their own soap to school, as soap from a dispenser could contain ingredients that are harsh on the skin. Brands of soap recommended by people with eczema on our social media channels included Dove, Faith in Nature and Simple. Olive oil soaps were also recommended.
- Children should bring emollient with them to school and apply it after washing their hands as well as at other times during the day. Provide your child with a travel-sized dispenser (available from bigger pharmacies and online), and decant their preferred emollient into it. They can keep this in their pocket for washing and moisturising at school.
- If your child’s hands start to get sore or cracked due to frequent hand-washing, ask the school if they can wear cotton gloves – remember to apply lots of emollient underneath the gloves and provide two pairs, which the child should change at lunchtime. We list suppliers of 100% cotton gloves in our Clothing stockist list.
- Do keep treating flares of hand eczema with prescribed topical steroids (which can be applied once a day at home, ideally before bed). If hands are sore from the school day, apply an ointment emollient before bed and wear cotton gloves overnight to re-hydrate and restore the skin, ready for school the next day.
If you encounter difficulties with the school, we have an information sheet here that you can print out to show the school. This describes the impact hand eczema can have on children, and explains how schools can support the medical needs of children with eczema, allowing them to fully participate in school life.