No School Today – My Child has Eczema

Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. If in fact not the most difficult. As a child gets older and enters into the school world a parent is frequently faced with the question of whether their child is well enough to go to school or not.

Is that runny nose and cough making them too miserable to be at school? Is their conjunctivitis contagious? Is that rash going to develop into measles? Are they sick or have they just forgotten to finish their homework?

Without any medical expertise it is difficult for a parent to know the right answer. We simply do what we think is right and what we feel is best for our child.

When you have a child with eczema it is a continuous, often daily battle to know whether your child is well enough for school.

So how do you know if your child should go to school or not?

Eczema is not contagious so there is no need to keep your child home from school to protect other children from their rash.

If your child is self conscious of their rash and afraid of the response of the other children talk to them about it and also the teacher so that your child can go to school and feel a part of the class without any feelings of being different. The situation will not improve by keeping your child at home.

If your child needs eczema creams and emollients to be applied during the day to prevent itching and to keep them comfortable, discuss this with the teacher as she/he may be able to help so that your child is able to go to school.

If your child’s eczema is so severe that they will be unable to participate in activities it is probably wise to keep them at home.

If your child has open weeping eczema and you fear that they may be susceptible to infection by going to school they should probably be kept at home.

If your child has been unable to sleep all night due to the discomfort of their eczema they will most probably not be able to function properly at school. Letting them sleep in and take it easy for a while is probably advisable. There is however no reason why they cannot be taken to school a little later. The whole school day need not be lost.

It is important to remember that a child’s education is important and so is their socialization. Being at school and learning to play and mix with other children is an important part of a child’s development. It is however also important that a child’s health and well being not be put at risk by being at school.

Trust your instincts

I guess it still comes back to the parent and what they feel is the best for their child. Most parents know how their child will cope at school and when their health is too poor for them to be able to cope.

Discuss your child’s health with the teacher and work as a partnership. The teacher will be able to advise you on how your child generally copes at school and the effect that their eczema has on their days performance.

An understanding with the teacher that she/he will call you during the day if your child’s eczema becomes worse or if they appear too uncomfortable to be at school will also help to put your mind at ease.

Mel Sinclair, RN