Our Family Physicians Offer 5 Tips for Controlling Eczema This Summer
If you have eczema, summer might mean staying in the air conditioning and wearing long sleeves. You may well feel as if you miss out on all of the fun your family and friends have to avoid an eczema flare-up — which would quickly ruin your fun.
The family physicians at Doctors First PC offer the following five tips to help you control your eczema this summer so you can enjoy all the fun activities of the season.
Regulate your body temperature
Heat can be an irritant, and although sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling itself, your sweat contains trace elements of certain chemicals that could further irritate your skin. One of the best ways to avoid a flare-up is to keep your body temperature about the same most of the time.
Carrying a handheld fan or mister can be helpful. Put ice water in it so that it instantly cools you down. Keep your moisturizers and other skin products in the refrigerator, so they are cool and soothing when you apply them.
If you do get sweaty, rinse off and change clothes right away. Do your best to keep the insides of your elbows, behind your neck, and the backs of your knees dry and cool, as those are common areas for eczema rashes.
Hydrate and eat well
Drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated when it’s hot outside. Carry a cooler with a cold bottle of water everywhere to both help regulate your body temperature and for hydration.
Avoid sugary foods, and eat cooling foods such as watermelon, cucumber, mint, and apples. These foods are plentiful in the summer and have the added benefit of being good for you.
You may feel uncomfortable wearing a swimsuit if you have eczema. The red, scaly rash makes many people feel self-conscious. But if the water soothes your skin, wearing a swimsuit is worth the passing discomfort.
You may find that chlorine or saltwater, or both, helps soothe your skin. Saltwater and chlorine can pull moisture from your skin, though, so make sure to pat yourself dry and use moisturizer as soon as you finish swimming. Using a moisturizer while your skin is still damp helps lock in the moisture.
Swimming is also an exercise you can do without getting sweaty. Stress can make an eczema flare-up more likely, and exercise is a good way to reduce your overall stress level.
Choose your clothing carefully
Lighter colors and a looser fit are good guidelines for dressing in the summer. Natural fabrics such as cotton or linen, as long as you’re not allergic to them, can help. You don’t want a piece of fabric that rubs or irritates your skin.
Be diligent about managing your allergies
Eczema flare-ups are common when you’re around allergens, whether they are dust, mites, mold, pollen, or something else. Make sure you’re allergen-free all year round, including in the summer.
If you’re traveling, you may want to consider taking along your bedding and bath towels to help control allergies. You never know if you’ll be allergic to the detergent the hotel uses, for example. Your doctor may suggest an antihistamine as a preventive because you may encounter different types of allergens, such as pollen, while you’re traveling.
To discuss your specific situation and to learn about additional measures you can take to fully enjoy the summer season, book an appointment online or call us at Doctors First PC.