Topical steroids are able to penetrate from the surface to the deeper layers of the skin and reduce the inflammation that makes the eczematous skin red, itchy and sore. A thin layer should be applied to affected areas as directed.
There are different types of dressings and bandages which may be used.
These are applied to the arms and legs and have a cooling effect when first applied and relieve irritation. They are however quite messy to apply. The arms are usually bandaged from wrist to underarm and legs from toes to the top of the thigh. To apply the medicated bandages, first imagine a centre line running up the forearm. Start at the wrist in the centre line and fold the bandage around until you reach the starting point again. Then pull the bandage out slightly so you now have an excess of free bandage. With this extra part fold it back over the centre line and then back over this to make a 'pleat'. Continue working your way up the arm in this fashion until you reach the top of the arm. The finished bandage should have pleats down the centre. The pleats are there to give maximum mobility and compensate for any shrinkage. An elasticated Tubifast bandage, or Comfiifast is applied to the limbs and a Tubifast or Comfiifast vest to the body which are tied together to secure the medicated bandages in place. These dressings also prevent scratching and are quite comfortable to wear.
It is important for the patient to realise that wet wraps are not a cure for eczema but they can be helpful in controlling the symptoms.
Wet wraps involves the application to the skin of two layers of Tubifast, or Comfiifast bandage. The first layer is applied moist, the second layer is dry. As the water in the bandages evaporates, a cooling effect results.
When wet wraps have been prescribed, the Eczema Nurse or Treatment Room Nurses will demonstrate how to apply the bandages.
Try to avoid pure wool or nylon clothes next to the skin, cotton clothing is preferable.
Remember that wrists and necks are likely to be irritated by pullovers whatever is worn underneath.
Cotton mitts or gloves can be worn by children/adults while sleeping to prevent scratching.
You may not have been prescribed all of these treatments and this information is intended as a general guide only. If you require further information please ask the nursing staff. Leaflets are also provided, please take one.