Sprintime eczema is one of the most common complaints coming into my office this time of the year. Kids and adults alike are itchy and scratchy all over. High levels of tree pollen for many can trigger itchy skin changes. Rapid changes in temperature and humidity that are classic for NYC can trigger an eczema flare leaving families feeling helpless, sleepy and ITCHY.
Classic areas that eczema appears are the areas of elbows and behind knees.
What can you do to help get skin back under control and possibly even prevent an eczema flare this NYC summer?
- MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE
- Keeping skin well hydrated will help prevent an eczema flare
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water (avoid juices and sugary beverages)
- Bath daily in warm water and avoid strong soaps
- Make sure skin is covered in a good moisturize when still wet
- Pat dry leaving a layer of water on the skin that you can trap into the skin with a moisturizer
- STOP THE ITCH SCRATCH CYCLE
- Have a plan to stop scratching.
- Talk about what to do to prevent the itch and stop it. Early moisturization can often prevent a flare.
- Send a plan to school with the National Eczema's School Kit
- Keep emollients like Vaseline, Crisco, Aquaphor of Vaniply in the refrigerator; the cool temperature applied directly to itchy inflamed skin will stop the itch. Wrap inflamed areas in wet cool paper towels before applying emollients.
- Use topical steroids and oral anti-histamines if needed.
- Your doctor may advise topical and/or oral antibiotics if skin becomes infected.
- Get into an oatmeal-Epsom salt bath
- Place dry oatmeal and Epsom salts in a cheese clothe or other porous material, tie tightly, and place under running water. Oatmeal has natural anti-inflammatory compounds that will help soothe irritated skin.
- TRY TO IDENTIFY TRIGGERS
- See an allergist to help you identify the cause and trigger of the eczema
- Tree pollen can trigger eczema.
- Potential causes may be foods (milk, eggs, and nuts are the most common), lotions, sunscreens and detergents, and skin allergy to dust mite, summertime weeds, and animals.
- Contact dermatitis (an allergy to chemicals in personal care products) is an often overlooked cause of eczema.
- Identifying other triggers can help you prevent future attacks. Your doctor may recommend patch testing, a way to look for chemical allergy.
Want more help for eczema in NYC? Schedule an appointment with us. Dr. Jennifer Collins, MD,a Castle Connolly Top Doctor is ready to help you with your eczema. Gramercy Allergy specializes in treatment of eczema in New York City.
Want to read more about eczema- Check out the National Eczema Foundation