The Return of Eczema

By Heather Legg

The weather is beautiful out. The humidity is down and the first cold mornings have arrived. And so has the eczema. We’ve already seen itchy legs with my younger daughter, and our friend’s son has a pretty flare of eczema. It’s covering most of his body, even his face. So what can you do when turning on the heat takes so much of the humidity out of our homes? Yes, dry makes our hair look better, but it can take a toll on our skin. Those of us susceptible to eczema and dry skin need to be ready to fight the battle.

Clearing up and preventing eczema can requires diligent maintenance. And once it starts, a cycle begins of itching and scratching and then the condition worsens. Here are a few tips to help you or your children if it has been recurrent of if it’s already present.

• Moisturize your skin consistently (some use something fragrance free like Aveeno, Eucerin and Cetaphil)
• Keep hand lotion in your car or purse so you can moisturize throughout the day if eczema is a problem on your hands.
• Keep chapstick on hand for lips, too.
• Use a gentle soap without fragrance in the shower or bath and use warm water, not too hot or too cool.
• Apply moisturizer within just a few minutes of getting out of the shower or bath to seal in the water from bathing.
• Use a humidifier in your house, especially your bedroom. Some people keep a pot of water boiling on the stove, but be careful if you do that.
• Drink a lot of water; keep your body moisturized from within and it will help.
• If nighttime scratching is a problem, you may want to try sleeping with gloves (or socks) on your hands. You can also try taking some Benadryl to help control the itching.
• Try to go to an every day bathing schedule or even less.
• Don’t smoke! The smoke is horrible for your hands and face and really dries the skin.
• Try to stay clear of fragrances. Not only your moisturizinglotion, but your soap and laundry detergent, anything that goes o your skin should be as gentle as possible.
• Don’t overexpose your skin to very hot or very cold air. If you do, slather on the moisturizer afterwards.
• Don’t scratch! It only makes things worse and prolongs the eczema. It also can lead to infection if you break the skin. You may want to keep your nails short so that you have a less chance of doing so, and make sure your hands are always clean so you don’t worsen the condition by accidentally scratching with dirty fingernails.

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