By Heather Legg
We know winter is a bad time for those with dry, itchy skin and we try our best to combat it. My nine year old daughter wakes up almost every night with itchy flare ups, even though we slather her with lotion before she goes to bed and have cut her showers back to no more than every other night. So why does it flare up at night? She can go all day with barely an itch and then her eczema wakes her up at night. I recently have had three or four friends tell me the same thing, one is even going through it herself.
Eczema runs in cycles, we know that, too. It goes from clear skin to signs and symptoms to flare ups. Then it starts over. Certain things can flare it up and yes, the itch does tend to get worse at night. And in turn, those with eczema scratch it, making it flare even more.
Not only is the itch itself bothersome, but waking up throughout the night is disruptive to the sleep cycle and daily well being. The best thing to do is note when a symptom is showing itself and try to catch it becomes uncontrollably itchy. I’ve seen my daughter during a flare up and she literally can’t stop scratching, though she makes her legs red and even worse.
Many people with eczema have other allergies, and often it runs in families. For us, the one with the worse skin is the one without the food allergies or animal dander allergies, but that’s just the way it is. We try to manage by keeping her hydrated from the inside and out in the winter months. Spring and fall she is fine, but in the summer, she does tend to get heat induced eczema which is different for her than in the winter months.
There are lots of lotions and creams on the market for itchy skin. Find the one that works best for you or your child. Many people recommend Vanicream, it is said to be great for dry, sensitive skin. Another good one is Cetaphil cream; I love the big pot that you can just scoop handfuls of cream out of. Cerave is another one that our dermatologist recommended an does sink right in. I think any of these would be good to keep by the bed so you or your child can reach it instead of scratching. As soon as lotion hits my daughter’s legs, she feels better and is calmer. Much better than frantic night time scratching.