Stress & Scratching

When dealing with eczema and its many symptoms, parents are often looking most intensely at the foods, products, and irritants in their children’s lives that may be causing the problem. This is great and it usually leads to some very interesting finds, but did you know that the state of your child’s mind can actually impact their eczema, too? Stress and anxiety are leading causes for eczema flare-ups, and a stressed out child is far more likely to experiencing itching that leads to lots of dangerous scratching.

Stress and anxiety affect eczema by taking a toll on the immune system and the body’s natural ability to deal with challenges and combat illness. When we add stress and anxiety to our lives, our immune systems may not be as strong as they should which can lead to over-corrections or failures. Many people find that during times of great stress they end up getting sick – and this is why. In children, stress can be particularly hard to deal with because they often don’t have the ability to express anxiety and strain in clear ways.

If you have a child that deals with eczema and who experiences stress or anxiety at times, there are some things you can do to help lessen the negative effects of these feelings so that the eczema issue doesn’t flare up…

  • Avoid sudden lifestyle changes. If diet, housing, routine, etc. need to change, give your child 1-2 weeks of gentle preparation before the actual switch happens whenever possible.
  • Empower your child by listening and reading the signs. Talk to them regularly about their friends, schooling, and other life aspects to make sure there are no issues.
  • Avoid sugar, caffeine, and other stimulating foods as much as possible since these are known to add to stress and anxiety.
  • Engage your children in relaxing exercises like stretching, walks, story time, art, and pretend. These are all activities known to reduce stress and create self-esteem.

If you believe that your child experiences more stress, anxiety, or worry than is normal, it might be a good idea to look at that. There are many simple and effective ways to treat these issues, and you may find that may seemingly unrelated illnesses like eczema are put under control when the anxiety is handled in a healthy way.

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