It was another scorcher of a day and I couldn’t bear to think of how my little one’s skin was going to be today. Red raw, and itchy. Hot and frustrated and cranky (that was me, let alone him!)… I couldn’t imagine another Summer season like this… pure torture.
For many with eczema, warmer weather can signal the start of a stressful season ahead, with flare ups, further discomfort, trouble sleeping and a worsening itch. The mere thought of a trip to the beach can trigger overwhelm and dread… sand, salt water, sunscreen and searing heat! Not the most eczema-friendly recipe.
So… here are some tips that can help you stay cool.
Water – remain well hydrated!
Tap water contains a myriad of chemicals and sediment so use a water filter where possible.
Be prepared with ice water or eskies if on the go, thermal bottles are a great option to take ice-water out and about to keep cool.
While it is important to get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun in short, time-limited bursts in the morning and evening, it’s also important to protect your skin from the harsh and hot sun for longer periods.
Many find it challenging to find a sunscreen that doesn’t contain food-based ingredients, skin irritants or other chemicals (such as hormone disrupters) that may affect our health longer term.
Repeated applications of sunscreen may irritate to skin, so try to remain in the shade or cover up as much as possible.
Wear breathable fabrics like cotton clothing – synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon can be irritating and trap the heat.
Lightweight cotton kaftans (even for kids) are a great option, allow air flow and are comfortable in hotter weather.
Review the bedroom space as the weather heats up. Overheating at night can contribute to increased discomfort, disrupting sleep and may be noticed in the morning as a skin flare up.
Remove heat trapping blankets or doonas, woollen mattress overlays and ensure lightweight pyjamas or minimal clothing, +/- scratch sleeves if required.
For young children, reduce the thicknesses of sleeping bags or swap to a light cotton sheet and ensure they are not overheating at night.
House dustmite allergies are a common a trigger for eczema. They thrive in warmth and high humidity, common in many places as the weather warms up.
So, if you live in areas with high humidity, or the weather is becoming more humid through Summer, a dehumidifier can make it less favourable for dustmites and therefore lessen the itch.
Other strategies for minimising house dustmites include vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner (bagged ensure the dustmites remain contained when emptying), washing soft toys regularly in hot water, and minimising clutter to maximise wipeable surfaces.
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