If your baby's eczema flares become severe, your doctor may recommend wet wrap therapy. Learn how to do wet wrap therapy to help your child's skin heal.
What Is Wet Wrap Therapy?
Eczema flares can become so severe that doctors may recommend wet wrap therapy treatment for your child. Wet wrap therapy involves a step-by-step process to help make your child feel more comfortable and it improves the child’s skin barrier. This type of treatment helps the skin heal so your child does not also get an infection (as infections can be more common in children with eczema), so you can hopefully avoid the use of additional medications. Studies have found dramatic improvement when this process is done for three or four days in a row.
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Wet Wrap Therapy: What You’ll Need
In order to do the process correctly, you need to have specific materials once your child finishes bath time:
- Large bucket filled with warm water or access to a sink with warm water
- Topical steroid as needed (prescribed by your doctor)
- Cotton clothing that can be soaked in water: preferably pajamas, multiple sets of socks (for feet and hands), underwear or a dressing (if smaller areas of eczema need to be treated).
- Dry pajamas (it may be helpful to have pajamas a size larger than what your child typically wears, to make them easier to put on)
- Cotton tube socks (to be cut by scissors)
- Cotton gloves for the hands
- Plastic wrap (used to cover food) or vinyl gloves
7 Steps For Wet Wrap Therapy
Here are our step by step instructions for wet wrap therapy (in addition to this helpful video from the National Eczema Association):
- Soak your child in the bathtub with warm water.
- Take your child out of the bath and immediately apply a topical steroid to the most severe areas of eczema on the child’s skin. (It is important to do this step when the skin is still damp.) For the other areas of the skin, apply a moisturizer to the rest of the skin.
- Use the bucket of warm water to get the clothing slightly damp.
- Cover your child in this wet layer of cotton clothing or a wet dressing to keep the moisture in the child’s skin. You can use the two sets of socks to cover the hands and feet if those areas have severe eczema too.
- Add another layer of dry, cotton pajamas to your child. If you are using wet socks for the feet, cover these areas with dry socks as well. You can use wet cotton gloves for the hands and put plastic wrap or vinyl gloves over the hands. (Tip: if you are only treating arms, then you can cut out holes in the ends of tube socks where the toes are so a child can use the sock as a make-shift sleeve to cover and treat the arms).
- Keep your child in these dressings for at least 2 hours or for the entire night if possible.
- Repeat this process every day for a few nights until the eczema improves.
Once the skin heals, it’s possible that you may have to do this treatment again. Note: you should not apply this treatment for healing the skin on the face, as face treatment should be performed by a medical professional skilled in this area.
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