Cool Weather : Worsening of Eczema: R U Prepared?

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Prevention of Eczema                                   

Pinpoint the source of irritation. If your face is itchy and irritated, suspect a cosmetic. If your hands are cracked and itchy, suspect some chemical you handle (dish detergent, for example). Some people become allergic to nickel after having their ears pierced, and any form of nickel that touches the body produces intense itching and sometimes a rash that looks like poison ivy. The rash may appear anywhere on the body, not necessarily on the ear lobes.

Avoid irritants. Stay away from substances to which you are hypersensitive. If soap or detergent or other chemicals cause problems, wear rubber gloves. Make sure any jewelry is nickel-free. If you have your ears pierced, make sure it’s done with a stainless-steel needle, and be sure that your first pair of earrings are stainless steel or high-quality 18-carat gold studs. Let your doctor or dentist know if you're allergic to latex, since gloves, surgical tubing, elastic bandages, and many other medical supplies contain latex.

Moisturize. After bathing, apply unscented moisturizer on damp skin immediately to seal in the moisture. If you develop dermatitis on your hands in cold weather, apply moisturizer regularly to keep your hands soft. If you live in a dry climate, or are experiencing dry weather, moisten indoor air with a cool-mist humidifier.

When washing or bathing, avoid harsh soaps or detergents. Use your automatic dishwasher and clothes washer as much as possible to avoid contact with detergents.

Relax. Some dermatitis is triggered by stress. If that appears to be true for you, try to maintain emotional stability. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can help.

Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools. Chlorine is an irritant. However, you may find that swimming in saltwater bays and the ocean isn’t a problem.

If you are having an outbreak...


1.Try to identify the substance that’s causing your symptoms and stay away from it!

2. Scratching worsens it so don't do it. Keep your fingernails clean and short to prevent infection.

3.  Use creams or ointments on dry rashes. If a lesion is oozing, use lotion or liquids. Oral antihistamines may also help relieve the itching. Be wary of “-caine” preparations, such as benzocaine. These deaden the itching, which may feel good momentarily, but they can cause secondary allergic reactions.

4.  Try a cold compress and  calamine lotion. Some people have also found temporary relief with milk compresses: pour very cold milk onto a washcloth and leave it on the affected area for three minutes or so; apply another wet cloth for three minutes; repeat several times throughout the day as needed.

5. Bathe less frequently -two baths or showers per weekin lukewarm (not hot)water can help keep your skin from drying out.

6. Wear loose cotton clothing. Cotton clothing allows perspiration—a potential irritant—to evaporate easily. Avoid woolen and silk garments; their fibers may irritate your skin.