As we come into the cold winter season, not only may we suffer through several respiratory infections, but our skin may also suffer with Atopic Dermatitis (aka eczema). People with eczema have chronic dry, sometimes itchy, skin. There are multiple factors that cause eczema. In addition to genetic predisposition, the external environment can trigger inflammation in eczema skin, either as allergic or irritant triggers.
Eczema is common in adults and young children with environmental allergies. It tends to worsen during the high pollen allergy season and during the cold, dry winter months. When skin flares with eczema, inflamed eczema patches that are “red”, bumpy and itchy often develop.
There are few key pointers to practice for the cold season to prevent the eczema flares:
- Frequent moisturization is essential! – Moisturizing with the appropriate skin products TWICE a day will reinforce the skin’s integrity and prevent itching, which will then prevent further inflammation. Recommended moisturizers are: Vanicream, Aquaphor, CeraVe.
- Use creams/ lotions, soap, and detergents that are FREE of dyes and fragrances – These will minimize irritation to the skin. Recommended soaps are: Vanicream cleansing bar, Dove liquid bath wash.
- Avoid irritating fabrics – Fabrics such as wool, polyester can aggravate already sensitive skin.Wear protective cotton fabrics that are easier on the skin.
If you feel you have eczema and it’s difficult to control, an evaluation with an Allergist may be greatly helpful. Allergy skin testing for environmental allergens will help determine which contact allergens to avoid in order to prevent eczema flares. For example, indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores can trigger eczema through contact on the skin. Avoidance measures and certain topical/oral medications can be recommended based on the findings of the skin testing and physical exam. For infants less than 2-years old, chronic eczema can be caused by certain food allergies such as cow’s milk, soy, wheat, and egg. Allergy skin testing to foods for these infants is highly recommended.
Our Allergy physicians at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Care can help improve your quality of life. With convenient locations in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield in Fairfield County, Connecticut, we specialize in the treatment of nasal, eye food, medication and skin allergies, as well as asthma care.