Saturday, June 10

What to know about swimming and skin if your child has eczema

For kids, swimming is a fantastic activity. It's a terrific way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. It's also an important safety skill.

Swimming can be challenging for kids with eczema, often known as atopic dermatitis. This is how parents may assist.


What is eczema?
Eczema is a skin allergy. Both allergies to food and allergies to environmental factors, such as pollen or cats, can cause it. Additionally, excessive sweating, hydration loss from the skin, sensitivity to chemicals or other substances, or other factors may all contribute to it.

The sun and swimming might be helpful for eczema.
In fact, swimming in a chlorinated pool may help with eczema. Baths with bleach, which are frequently advised as an eczema treatment, essentially transform the bathtub into a swimming pool.

The sun and being in the water can both be beneficial for eczema. The secret is to maximise the positive effects while avoiding any potential negative effects.

What to do before and after swimming if your child has eczema
The following recommendations are for parents:
  • Use sunscreen, especially one with zinc oxide or titanium, if you want to be outside. Look for delicate skin formulations and stay away from anything scented. Use UV-protective swimwear or clothing, especially if you struggle with shame about rashes.
  • Before swimming, especially in a chlorinated pool, apply an emollient. The skin can be protected by applying some oil before swimming. You want your child to be able to hold on to things, and you don't want them to slide and fall, so don't overdo it on the palms or soles. The ideal emollient for your child should be discussed with your doctor.
  • If it's your first time swimming in a pool, you might want to swim for a shorter period of time than usual to make sure the chemicals aren't too irritating. If at all possible, avoid entering a pool immediately after adding chlorine.
  • Plan to shower and change straight away after swimming, using a gentle soap or unscented body wash. Reapply emollient after patting the skin dry with a clean towel (not the one you used to swim in).
  • Swim caps and goggles with silicone inside may be less irritating than those made of rubber or other polymers. After use, be careful to rinse all swimming gear.
  • It may be preferable to avoid swimming until your child's eczema is less inflamed or infected, or at the very least, seek your doctor's advice.
What else ought you to think about?
Be aware that some kids and teenagers with eczema dislike wearing swimming suits that expose a lot of skin because they feel self-conscious about it. Take your child's lead in this regard.

Consult your doctor if your child experiences frequent eczema flare-ups or severe eczema to determine whether using over-the-counter topical steroids could be beneficial and whether you should use them before swimming. Consult your doctor for advice on the best ways to maintain your child's skin health if you are planning a trip where your child will be swimming frequently or if you are just moving into a season where swimming may be common.

Visit the websites of the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Eczema Association for more information.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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