The colder months are drying on the skin, exposure to the elements and lower humidity are the main attributes until you get indoors and turn on the heat. Additional dehydrating occurs due to people not keeping up their liquid intake as they would in summer.
There are a number of ways in which you can cut down the possibility of triggering or aggravating the eczema for both children and adults. Following is a quick checklist:
- Wear cotton next to the skin - this helps to reduce sweating which can be an irritant. Cut tags off clothing and wash before wearing. Synthetic or woollen clothes and bedding can cause over-heating.
- Bathe or shower in lukewarm water using soap-substitutes and mild shampoos.
- After bathing or showering, pat skin dry and apply a suitable moisturising cream or ointment.
- Use hypoallergenic products and avoid anything perfumed.
- Keep fingernails short to prevent scratching from breaking the skin and wear cotton mitts or gloves at night.
- People with atopic eczema may be allergic to wool, dust, dust mites, grass seeds, pollens, feathers, animal fur and dander - keep pets outside and remove wool carpets.
- Use non-biological soap powders and detergents.
- Take antihistamines at night to aid in reducing the itchiness and help with sleep.
- Do not embark on a diet without consultation with your doctor or dietician. Food additives are the most likely to cause problems, particularly artificial colourings and preservatives.
- Over-heating, frosty weather, low humidity, dry air, central heating, air conditioning and car heaters can all aggravate a dry skin and eczema. Use a humidifier in dry or heated rooms to keep the air moist.
- Get to know your own or your child's triggers. What sparks off one person's eczema doesn't necessarily trigger another's.
- The byword with eczema treatment is to act promptly. If it suddenly flares up, don't ignore it. Remember that eczema can become infected.
- Develop and maintain a skin routine, which takes into account triggers and the best way of coping with flare-ups. Your Health professional can assist with this.
- Children and adults, experience emotional stress which can play a large role in triggering a flare-up of eczema or aggravating the current condition. No one can get rid of stress in their lives, but we can learn how to handle it more effectively.
For more information about this article please contact:
ECZEMA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALASIA INC
PO Box 1784 DC CLEVELAND QLD 4163
P:1300 300 182 or 07 3206 3633
F: 07 3206 3666