New eczema treatment for kids?
If your child, like one in five other U.S. children, suffers from the painful, itchy rash known as eczema, you know the treatment options well. Controlling symptoms usually requires topical steroids or immunosuppressants. Although these medications can be effective, parents worry about their long-term effects.
A new study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, revealed that a new technique called wet wrap therapy may be a safer treatment alternative. The technique is not new, according to the research, however, it has rarely been studied. It was first described in 1987, but has never been used as a standardized treatment for children with eczema.
Wet wrap therapy involves the following simple steps:
- The child soaks for 20 minutes in a bath of warm water.
- Within 3 minutes after getting out of the tub, while the skin is still damp, topical medications along with creams or ointments are applied to affected areas.
- Dress the child in wet clothing or wraps to seal in moisture. Then add a layer of dry clothing. Keep layers on for at least two hours.
Participants in the study included 72 children who had wet wraps applied two to three times daily, depending on the severity of the eczema. Over time, researchers tapered down the therapy only treating affected areas. Over roughly four days, researchers said they saw “dramatic improvements.”
Children who underwent in-patient therapy experienced an average reduction in symptoms by 71 percent, they were able to maintain healthy skin for a month once they returned home, and while at home, they did not have to rely solely on their prescribed medications.
Co-author of the study Dr. Mark Boguniewicz cautioned in a statement that in order for the wet wrap therapy to work, a specific technique must be followed.“You can’t just try this on your own because overuse can do more harm than good,” said Dr. Boguniewicz, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at National Jewish Health in Denver.
“You first want to familiarize yourself with the concept and talk to a specialist about it,” he said.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.