Perhaps your 5-year-old got severely sunburned on a recent ski trip to Park City, and you’re trying to help her manage the sore and itchy skin on her nose. Or maybe your 3-year-old contracted a harmless but bad looking rash that’s clearly uncomfortable and that’s made him more moody and prone to tantrumming than he usually is. Other than obtain an appropriate and thorough medical diagnosis for your child’s skin condition – which you should do immediately, if you haven’t already! – how else can you help him or her manage the discomfort and also keep caregivers, siblings and friends safe and sound?
1. Understand the Diagnosis, and Communicate the problem to the Child in a compassionate but Direct way.
To regain control of your life and your child’s skin condition, first understand what’s actually happened and get a proper diagnosis. Is the skin problem contagious? Is it symptomatic of an illness or other medical problem? Where did he or she likely get it? How long will it last? What kinds of medicines or other treatments should the child be taking? What are potential side effects of those modalities? Once you understand the rules of the game, so to speak, you then need to be able to communicate important facts about the skin issue to the child. As a rule of thumb, you don’t necessarily need to go into exhaustive detail about the condition, but you should make the rules regarding it clear. For instance: leave the band aid on the booboo until mommy says to take it off, and do not touch your sister with the booboo. If the child has questions about what’s going on, answer the questions in a direct way that’s age appropriate.
2. Monitor Mindfully.
Some skin issues can clear up spontaneously. Others can get worst or spread and lead to the presentation of other symptoms, which can be associated with different maladies. Especially if the skin issue is contiguous, wash your hands frequently, do extra loads of laundry (if necessary) and monitor yourself and any other children or people in the household for related skin issues.
3. If the Child needs to stay Home from School (or camp), Organize your Life accordingly, so you don’t Feel compelled to Rush the Child back into a Social setting and Risk the child getting sicker or the Child getting other kids (and teachers) Sick.
Most parents of young children are pressed for time and space. You may feel some urgency about getting your child back into school, so that you don’t have to pay a million dollars for the babysitter, and you can get back to work. However, be mindful both of your child’s wellbeing and of the health and wellbeing of other people in the community. In addition to listening to your doctor’s advice, follow the golden rule. If you’re uncertain about whether to send your child to school or to another activity, ask yourself how you would feel if another parent of a sick child sent his or her child to school while presenting the same symptoms.
For compassionate, thorough and strategic treatment for dermatological conditions, please contact the team at Mountain View Dermatology for a free consultation.
This is a guest post by the boulder dermatology office of Mountain View Dermatology – A company offering a wide variety of skin care services including skin cancer treatment.