Treating Eczema with Wet Wrap Therapy: A Step by Step Guide for Parents & Healthcare Professionals
Eczema is a common yet complex skin condition that presents with a spectrum of symptoms, impacting every aspect of a patient’s life. It can begin during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, and can range from mild to severe. The National Eczema Association estimates that eczema affects 10% of adults and 4 to 8% of children all over the globe.
Common symptoms include:
- Intense itching
- Red, inflamed skin
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Dark-coloured, rough, leathery, or scaly patches
- Crusting, oozing, or cracking skin
- Skin pain like stinging and burning
Symptoms vary for person to person and different types of eczema could even occur on the body are the same time. Intense itching is the most significant symptom of eczema and scratching makes it worse – known as the ‘itch-scratch cycle’.
In addition to the physical discomfort and pain, eczema can negatively impact emotional, social and personal wellbeing. Patients often report poor sleep, low mood and low confidence.
Different techniques have been developed to help control and reduce the many symptoms that an eczema flare up can bring. Often a combination of solutions can produce the most effective results. Keeping the skin hydrated and well moisturised to replenish the skin barrier is a key step in managing eczema. Those looking to manage their or their child’s eczema are seeking effective, minimum-fuss solutions that deliver quick results. Comfort is a key factor in the successful treatment, particularly in younger patients. Wet Wrap Therapy Used for several decades, Wet Wrap Therapy has proved effective for a number of skin conditions, including eczema. A study by researchers at National Jewish Health (a facility known for its excellent work in treating eczema) found that with the use of Wet Wrap Therapy, eczema was reduced by over 70% with effects lasting for a month1.
Wet Wrap Therapy is often a technique used in hospital. However, Wet Wrap Therapy may also be used in the community or at home at the first signs of an eczema flare up to reduce the need for hospital admission. A medical grade viscose garment is used in combination with an emollient or low strength topical steroid. This treatment is used to treat eczema flare-ups but will also reduce the itch-scratch cycle, therefore protecting the skin from further damage caused by scratching.
How does Wet Wrap Therapy work?
There are many benefits associated to the use of Wet Wrap Therapy:
- Cooling - as the water evaporates from the bandage, the skin will cool. This helps to reduce inflammation, itching and tenderness, increasing comfort and helping patients to live an active day and have a comfortable night’s sleep
- Moisturising - emollients applied to the skin and covered by the wet garment are absorbed into the skin, providing a longer lasting moisturising effect
- Protective - the garment provides a physical barrier and an extra layer of protection from the itch-scratch cycle, allowing the skin to heal at a quicker rate
- Efficient treatment - Topical steroid molecules are more effective absorbed into superficial and deeper layers of skin where inflammation is present. Using this treatment will prevent damage to the skin from itching and scratching, therefore reducing the healing time process. Once the condition is controlled by using Wet Wrap Therapy, the need for topical steroids will be reduced
Wet Wrap Therapy: A Step by Step Guide
What equipment is required?
Ensure all surfaces are clean and dry and that there is plenty of room for the carer and patient to manoeuvre around the room. You will need clean warm water, the emollients and/or topical steroid treatment (as prescribed by your healthcare professional), plus two layers of the chosen garment such as ComfiWEAR™ and ComfiKIDS™.
How long should the garments be worn?
The garments can be worn continuously for up to 24 hours at a time.
The garment may begin to feel dry, if this happens, the layer of garment next to the skin can be dampened – this can be done by rolling up the top layer of garment and using a spray bottle with warm water to re-dampen the under layer. If extra emollient needs to be applied whilst wearing the garment, roll the garment up or down to access the skin.
In many cases, Wet Wrap Therapy is usually used for short periods of time to help an eczema flare settle e.g. each night for a week at a time.
How should the garments be removed?
Garments should be removed in the same way as clothes. To protect the fragile skin, they should be removed with care. If the garment is stuck to the skin, soaking it with warm water will help.
Can the garments be used again?
ComfiWEAR™ and ComfiKIDS™ garments can be washed in the washing machine and re-used. The instructions on how to do this can be found in the instructions leaflet inside the garment box.
Once the garments are torn or worn out, new garments will be required to continue Wet Wrap Therapy treatment. New garments can be ordered on prescription.
Alternative treatment methods
If only treating a small patch of skin, rather than using a garment to cover a complete area of the body, a tubular bandage such as on from the ComfiFAST™ range can be applied to one area of the body, such as an arm or a leg. It is important to cut the bandage to the correct size, the bandage should fit comfortably but should not be too tight.
Another option to consider, is Dry Wrap Therapy – in some cases, the patient may not like the feeling of a wet garment close to their skin. As an alternative, a single layer dry garment can be applied, after the emollient has been applied to the skin.
About Comfi® garments and bandages
ComfiWEAR™ and ComfiKIDS™ are a range of ready to wear and easy to apply garments suitable for eczema patients. The garments are an ideal solution for covering the skin when using steroids, heavy emollients or ointments prescribed by healthcare professionals.
Made using MultiStretch Technology, the garments are constructed to stretch in multiple directions, meaning they are easy to apply and provide extra comfort. The garments are available in different sizes to suit adults and children from 6 months old to 14 years of age.
Benefits of Comfi®:
- MultiStretch Fabric
- Simple, safe and easy to use
- Seams on the outside to protect fragile skin
- Creates a physical barrier to scratching
- SteamSoft Technology for extra comfort
- Unobtrusive when worn under clothing
- Prevents transfer of creams and emollients to clothing and bedding
- Helps support patient concordance
- Available in a variety of sizes