Amazing New Relief For Eczema Patients
An evolution of the cold compress, wet wraps are a new way to help alleviate the inflammation, itching, and pain associated with eczema.
Studies have shown that skin is hydrated and calmed through wet wrap therapy and children with severe atopic dermatitis (commonly referred to as eczema) showed significant improvement when other therapies had failed to provide much needed relief.
One week after the start of therapy, these children experienced a decrease in itch by 74%, leading to better sleep and less overall stress. These improvements lasted for quite some time after the treatment in the study was ended (for study purposes, the treatment lasted two weeks). Hand eczema has also shown considerable improvement through wet wrap therapy. Your dermatologist may feel like this form of therapy is appropriate for you or your child, so you may want to ask about it.
Wet wrap therapy is a process of wrapping wet bandages around areas affected by eczema symptoms. There are sometimes differences in treatment, so your dermatologist may not repeat the exact steps to the basic technique given here:
The patient will soak in a warm (not hot) bath with unscented, dye free bath oil.
A good moisturizer is applied to the wet skin over the whole body. Moisturizers need to be cream or petroleum jelly based and preferably dyes and fragrance free. If you cannot find a moisturizer that lacks fragrance, test in on a small area of the skin before you apply for large areas of skin, allergic reactions can cause further severity of the flare up. Do not use lotions as most lotions have an alcohol based that actually dries the skin, rather than hydrating it.
Medication is applied to the affected areas. Bandages which have been wet with either warm water or a warmed moisturizing agent are wrapped around the affected area. The can be used on any part of the body as long as the patient is not unduly bothered by them. The face is sometimes a problem in young children, but older patients will usually tolerate the inconvenience in order to alleviate the suffering.
Dry bandages are then wrapped over the wet bandages as a way to seal in moisture.
After about two weeks of doing this every day, you can cut applications back to every other day and sometimes every two days, but the therapy should be continued in order to continue to see the results.
Wet wrap therapy is not only an unobtrusive way to provide a number of benefits to eczema sufferers. These include: Better sleep (due to decrease in irritating symptoms), less itching, reduced inflammation, reduced redness, reduction in the overall amount of staph bacteria found on the skin's surface, and more moisturized skin.
Cons to wet wrap therapy are as true as the benefits. Like any type of medication or therapy, there are things that people have not liked about it. Some of these include:
Children have trouble sitting still while the bandages are applied.
Many children, especially younger ones, tend to remove the bandages, not giving the treatment enough time to help with deep moisturizing of the skin, which is the basis of the entire therapy and the reason the symptoms are so well controlled.
Much patience is necessary for the application of bandages on children with eczema.
It is not a fast process. You will have to plan the time to accomplish the therapy each day.
In treatment of very young children cotton pajamas are recommended rather than actually bandages for both the wet part of the wrap and the dry part. Keep in mind that you or your child may get chilly while the process is happening. You may want to keep a warm blanket close at hand.
Something to consider is that this therapy not only works for the dry skin of eczema patients, but can also relive rough, dry feet and hands (and any other part of the body that is dry and/or rough. You may want to wrap you child, then wrap your own feet. Your child will feel more comfortable if you two can share this experience, forming a common bond between you.
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