You're convinced by the benefits of wet wrapping (see our article here for more details) but still daunted by the prospect of wet-wrapping an itchy, uncomfortable, slippery little person? Here are our five top tips to make things a bit easier.
1. Make baths fun!
Give them a short, warm (not hot) bath first; don’t use any shampoo, body wash, bubble bath or soap, just a little bath oil (Balmonds Bath & Body Oil is perfect) if you want. Let them choose toys to play with in the bath rather than bubbles, and keep baths to 10-15 minutes max.
2. Get them involved
After bathing, pat skin dry very gently, leaving it a little damp, and immediately cover all over with an emollient ointment (such as Skin Salvation). Get your child to join in if they’re able, smearing ointment on any areas of skin they think is ouchy; participating in the process can make them feel a bit more in control.
3. Find an extra pair of hands
An extra adult is really useful if at all possible, to pass dampened bandages, emollients, help keep a child still, cuddle them while the other wraps, turn on story tapes etc.
Wet wrapping can be a long and boring process for a tiny itchy person, so hone those distraction techniques! If there are two of you, one can read a story, use a puppet to amuse them, watch something on a tablet, sing a nursery rhyme together or whatever works to keep your little one amused and distracted. If there’s only you, find a story tape or audio book that you save as a special treat during wet wrapping.
5. Get suited
Don’t use safety pins or long, loose ties! Wraps don’t have to be bandages, so if you’re finding it tricky to fix them securely or find tubular bandages time-consuming to roll on, try all-in-one sleepsuits or pyjamas instead. You can get specialist all-in-one suits in hypoallergenic fabrics to use as the bottom, tighter, damp layer, and use ordinary cotton sleepsuits or pyjamas for the top, dry layer. (Specialist clothing for eczema is sometimes available on the NHS, so ask your GP!)
Skin Salvation is an ideal ointment to use under wet wraps because it protects, moisturises and nourishes and is free from common irritants - and most importantly, is designed so it doesn’t sting sore skin when applied!
See our step-by-step guide to wet wrapping here.
In this series of articles about wet wrapping, we’re focusing on using wet wraps with emollient creams, not with topical steroids. Always consult with a doctor or nurse if you’re using steroid creams as their potency may be increased when used under wet wraps and could damage the skin.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.