What can reduce the itch?
Massage and moisturising
Massaging the healed area with non-perfumed moisturising cream can help to keep it soft and supple, and can also help prevent itching. The service that treated your child’s burn will give specific advice on your child’s scar massage regime.
“You need a humongous wad of cream because you don’t do a little bit, you work it in loads and loads. You really work it! A palm full at least, and that would just be for one area.”
When it is not possible to massage the area to alleviate itching, your child could try gently pressing, tapping or pinching their scar until the urge to scratch has passed.
Wearing pressure garments can help to reduce itching. They can reduce the itch but also prevent your child from damaging the delicate skin. Speak to the service that treated your child’s burn if you have any questions about pressure therapy or your child’s pressure garments.
“Pressure garments really helped, they really pushed down the itch.”
Help your child to concentrate on something else. This can prevent them from noticing that their scar is itching.
They might find it helpful to clench their fists or squeeze a squidgy ball for 30 seconds. Your child might also find it helpful if you suggest things that they can do to alleviate the itch. For example, say, “tap your skin” or “squeeze your fists tight”, instead of saying things like “don’t scratch” or “stop scratching”.
Other things that might distract children from the itch include: watching TV, playing with friends, singing songs, playing computer games or on iPads, painting or crafts. Their imagination might also help them to overcome the urge to scratch.
Talk to your child’s burn service if they are really struggling with itch. There may be medication that they can take which can help to reduce the itch.
“He was scratching it so much is was drawing blood a little bit and so they said enough. They would never let that kid be in any discomfort, they just said ‘right, let’s find a treatment and sort it out’.”
Relaxation is a skill, just like playing a musical instrument, a sport, or reading. It gets better the more it is practiced. Learning to relax will help your child to relax their muscles and mind so that they can escape the tense feelings and frustration caused by itching.
Relaxation can also help them to fall asleep at night and to get back to sleep if they wake up during the night. Your child might find listening to their favourite music or story relaxing.
Many children like a story to help them to relax because it is fun and takes their mind away from how their scar feels. It can be any story they like, they just need to imagine a place and all the sights, sounds, textures, and smells that are there.
Another way to help them to relax is using the relaxation recording below.
Click here to download the script for the exercise above. Read it slowly to your child whilst they lie on their bed or sit in a comfortable chair.