Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be enjoying egg nog and the warmth of the holiday season, but also have an eczema (atopic dermatitis) flare!

What is eczema? It's a skin condition affecting anywhere for 5 - 15% of the population. It typically starts in childhood as dry itchy skin & the more you scratch the worse the skin gets.

Normally, your skin acts as our first line defense from the outside world, protecting us from bacteria and environmental allergens. People with eczema actually have a defect in their skin with a protein called fillagrin, causing a disruption in this natural barrier. If you think about skin cells like bricks and mortar, fillagrin is the mortar and it helps hold the skin cells tight together. When it doesn't work correctly, the skin cells leak letting all types of environmental allergens get in & start on allergic reaction. The more you scratch your skin, the more disruption you cause to the skin, perpetuating the cycle. Winter is problematic for people with eczema because the cold weather and indoor heat drys our skin out even more.

What can you do to prevent this?

* Keep your skin as moist as possible- soak in a tub or take a long (at least 10 min shower) and then apply an emolient like vaseline or aquaphor to trap the water inside.
* Don't scratch!
* Keep your home and bed clean
* Use protective covers for your mattress to protect from dust mites (animals that live in your bed)

If you need furter advice, feel free to call for an appointment.

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