Statistics released by the National Eczema Association reveal that nearly 32 million people suffer from some form of eczema in the United States. Most people living with the disorder experience varied symptoms, including dermatitis that involves severe and unbearable itching for at least 12 hours a day. In our post on ‘Steps to Combat Eczema’, we explained that managing these symptoms can be easy with the proper bath routine. However, during the winter months, drier air and colder temperatures may cause eczema flare-ups that need a bit more attention.

Avoid Rapid Temperature Changes
According to a post published on Medical News Today, the skin starts to dry and feel itchy when it goes through big temperature changes so transitioning between the cold outdoors and the warm indoors is key. Make sure to always wear gloves, scarves, and hats to protect your skin whenever you go outside – especially the parts that are prone to eczema. Also make sure that you avoid hot water and hot showers if you’re coming in from outside, as your cold skin could be irritated by the hot temperature of the water.

Use a Humidifier
Eczema is often triggered by cold temperatures and dry air, and winter brings a combination of both things that can cause extreme flare-ups. Moreover, your centralized heating system could be pumping a lot of dry, hot air into your home, making your eczema worse. It’s important to use a humidifier to combat this, as it adds moisture to your air. However, a humidifier isn’t a cure-all. The Mayo Clinic explains that using a humidifier incorrectly could introduce dangerous bacteria into your home or cause a slew of other side-effects instead, such as condensation, molds, and asthma flare-ups. Your home’s humidity level should always be between 30% and 50%, and humidifiers need to be cleaned at least every three days.

Get Screened
Most people assume that when they have itchy, dry, and flaky skin, they’re suffering from eczema. This is especially true in the winter months, when their skin seems to get worse, and they think it’s simply the weather triggering their eczema. However, it could be something else: psoriasis, eczema’s close cousin. Healthgrades recommends seeing a specialist directly if it seems your symptoms aren’t responding to usual eczema treatments. And research by Maryville University shows there has been an ‘emergence of nurse-run clinics’ in the United States where families can get initial screening for skin issues before seeking expert help from a dermatologist. The key to getting quick relief is knowing what you’re actually suffering from, and how to combat it.

Set Up a Routine
When dealing with a condition like eczema, it’s important to realize that there isn’t a magic cure that will give you instant relief. Instead, you need to set up a routine and create an environment that minimizes triggers for those dreaded flare-ups. VeryWellHealth recommends keeping skin moisturized with fragrance-free and dye-free cleansers, avoiding harsh detergents, and only wearing cotton or natural fibers. Keeping baths brief, drinking plenty of fluids, and using moisturizers such as Macro B, which are especially designed to soothe irritation and replenish dry skin, are just as important.

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by Wendy Neil