Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of children worldwide. It's characterized by itchy, red, dry, and cracked skin that can be quite difficult to manage. While physical symptoms of eczema are well-known, less attention is given to the mental health impact of eczema in children. Research has shown that eczema can have a significant impact on a child's self-esteem, social life, and academic performance, especially when it occurs during school years. In fact, one study showed that in spite of confounding variables, that adolescents still self-reported difficulties keeping up with school education (Beckman, Hagquist, Svensson, Langan & Von Kobyletzki, 2023).
For children with eczema, the constant itch and discomfort can be quite distressing, leading to anxiety and even depression. They may feel ashamed of their skin condition, avoid participating in certain activities such as swimming or sports, or develop poor self-esteem. The feeling of being different or abnormal can be overwhelming, causing the child to isolate themselves socially, miss out on normal childhood experiences or even avoid school. Furthermore, eczema can also disrupt sleep patterns, resulting in fatigue and difficulty concentrating in class, leading to poor academic performance.
It is therefore essential for school staff and parents to work together to be aware of the impact of eczema on children's education and mental health and provide support when needed. School can be a challenging environment for children with eczema, especially during outbreaks, where other children may make unkind remarks or exclude them from activities. Teachers and staff can play a positive role by creating a supportive and inclusive classroom environment, educating other children about eczema, and allowing for treatments and medication during the school day. Check out our Back-2-Skool Eczema Tool Kit for a better idea of what items to include for your child during their school days.
Parents can assist children by teaching them the importance of self-care and how to manage their eczema, as well as building their confidence and promoting their social interactions. They can also work with schools to ensure accommodations are available to help their child manage eczema during school hours.
In conclusion, eczema can have a significant impact on a child's mental health, leading to emotional distress, poor self-esteem, and difficulty in academic performance. With effective management and support from parents and schools, children can grow up feeling more equipped to manage their eczema and lead a happy, healthy life.
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Beckman L, Hagquist C, Svensson Å, Langan SM, Von Kobyletzki L. Relationship between Eczema and Self-reported Difficulties Keeping up with School Education: A Cross-sectional Study. Acta Derm Venereol. 2023 Jun 5;103:adv5268. doi: 10.2340/actadv.v103.5268. PMID: 37272361; PMCID: PMC10259463.