Back to School Support

Work with your child’s health care provider to meet your child’s unique eczema needs 

As children return to the classroom, hand washing and mask protocols will be part of the new normal. ESC recognizes that children with eczema may have unique needs, and these protocols may be challenging. While we hear from some patients that they are managing hand washing and masking well, for others, these two COVID-19 protective measures may irritate their eczema. As each patient has individual needs, we recommend you consult and work with your child’s health care provider to find a plan that will work best for your child.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESC created its School and Daycare Guide to help facilitate a safe and fun learning environment for children with eczema, however, we recognize that this current situation may be much more challenging.

Dr. Neil Shear, MD, FRCPC, is a dermatologist and Head of Dermatology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Dermatology at University of Toronto. He offered ESC the following guidance on hand washing:

  • When washing hands, use warm water – never hot – and follow with a moisturizer each time
  • Hand washing is generally a preferred option to hand sanitizer, as alcohol can irritate and sting sensitive skin
  • Remember to use topical medications for the hands when needed and as prescribed by your or your child’s doctor

Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis, MD, FRCPC, is a dermatologist and researcher with special interest in eczema, and also offered some guidance on masks and returning to school:

  • When wearing face masks, opt for soft, non-irritating fabrics (such as cotton) and wash in between use, ideally with detergents formulated for sensitive skin
  • If your child has eczema, and you are concerned that wearing a mask will irritate their condition, consult your child’s health care provider for recommendations

Remember while safety is key, everyone is different and there may be individual needs when it comes to washing hands and wearing masks, so please consult a health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.