A Guide to Wet Wraps

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Roo here! This is a guest post from Lisa Wipani. I love sharing other people’s stories because it’s a great way for us (by us, I mean parents of kids with allergies, asthma, and eczema) to grow as a community, for others to learn about what we experience, and for awareness to increase so our kids are met with more support. As always, please check with your doctor before implementing ideas you see on Scratch or Sniff as I am not one. :)

When my son was three months old he developed eczema which grew steadily worse until it took over every aspect of our lives. Finding a way to relieve our son’s discomfort dominated our waking hours. We’d consider anything if there was a chance it could improve the quality of his life.

One treatment we did have some success with was wet wrapping.

a-guide-to-wet-wraps

What are wet wraps?

Wet wraps are close-fitting bandages that are soaked in warm water and applied wet to the skin. They’re used as a short-term treatment for flare ups in more severe cases of eczema.

You can buy wet wrap bandages in the form of ready-made garments, tubes or dressings.

They work in three ways:

  • As the water soaked up by the bandages slowly evaporates it cools the skin and relieves itchiness and inflammation
  • The skin is softened by the damp bandages which improves the absorption of moisturizers and other creams
  • The bandages act as a barrier protecting the skin against little scratching fingers

The key steps to a wet wrap routine are:

  • bathe
  • apply cream
  • wet wrap
  • keep the wraps moist (without moisture they just rub the skin).

You MUST see a medical professional who’s familiar with the treatment before you try it, especially as they may need to change the creams you use.

Our experience with wet wrapping

The good stuff:

  • They worked. Our son slept. He didn’t have as much itchiness during the day either.
  • The flare ups didn’t last as long.
  • We were able to reduce the amount and potency of steroid cream we used.

The other stuff:

  • Dressing a slippery, wriggling child in tight wet bandages isn’t easy but you get better at it.
  • When the bandages get grubby it’s a big mission to swap them for clean ones.
  • You have to keep the wraps moist – day and night.
  • They didn’t help his face which was in a bad state. There are balaclavas but being so young he didn’t tolerate wearing one.

I would gladly use wet wraps again. The other stuff pales in comparison to the relief they gave our son.

At times I hated having to pull them on a screaming child who didn’t understand they’d make him feel better. We’d both cry.

I asked my son recently what he honestly thought of the wraps. He said “I liked them. They felt nice. You know. Squishy.”

Sweet.

Lisa Wipani lives with her husband and four children in a 108 year old, ramshackle wooden house in an inner city suburb in Auckland, New Zealand.

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