A recent survey conducted by the National Eczema Association (NEA) in early September revealed at more than 20% of parents and caregivers who responded indicated their children experienced bullying at school, during extracurricular activities or with friends because of eczema.
The Dermatology Times highlighted this difficult problem in a recent article, Survey puts spotlight on a big problem for children with eczema: Bullying.
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition impacting 9 million children in the U.S. and characterized by dry, irritated, itchy skin. Eczema can negatively impact a child’s life in both seen and unseen ways, affecting students’ self-esteem, mood, self-confidence and ability to establish and manage relationships. In the same NEA survey, more than 75 percent of parents of children who have been bullied due to their eczema report their child experienced lowered self-esteem as a result.
Managing eczema in school can prove difficult for both children with the disease and their teachers. An ordinary day at school is filled with possible triggers that can aggravate eczema symptoms – from carpets to outdoor activities to standard soaps – making everyday activities like recess or arts and crafts more difficult. School stress is another less visible but still important classroom trigger. Both the symptoms and treatment of eczema can be stressful for children, as can the social and emotional consequences of the condition.
NEA’s Eczema: Tools for School Guides provide information and advice to foster a positive experience for children with eczema, including strategies for raising disease awareness in class, recommendations for building an eczema school care kit and a list of books and movies aimed at raising self-esteem, promoting positive thinking and encouraging understanding of people who are different. An educator guide also offers a useful work page for teachers and parents to develop an action plan to support the student with eczema at school.