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Eczema & Heatwaves

Eczema and Hot Weather, is There a Link?

The Northern Hemisphere has been experiencing extreme heat and fluctuations in regular seasonal weather over the last few years. This can contribute to a variety of different health problems in all age groups especially when these groups of people are not used to such high temperatures. One such health problem is eczema.

Eczema (or dermatitis as it is sometimes called) is a group of skin conditions which can affect all age groups and can vary in its severity. In its mild form, the skin becomes dry, hot and itchy but in it more severe form, the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding. Eczema is not contagious even though it can sometimes look unpleasant. There are several different types of eczema but there are a number of ways to manage eczema and most important is an effective skin care routine.

Eczema and Dry Skin in the Heat

Dryness of the skin is one of the the main problems associated with eczema. This dryness is aggravated by the hot, dry conditions of a heatwave. Too much heat and sweat can make your skin more irritated and itchy. So if you are suffering from eczema try to avoid activities that make you hot and sweaty since in hot weather the body sweats more causing water loss from the skin. It is important not to wear synthetic fabrics and wool clothing or use bedding of similar materials. Cotton clothing and bedding will keep the skin cool and allow it to breathe.

Eczema in Children

Children in particular are more likely to want to scratch their skin when the weather is so hot. Chilrend who are prone to eczema should have their nails kept short and at night-time, it is a good idea to put cotton mittens on the children's hand so that they are less likely to scratch their skin during sleep.

Eczema and Protective Clothing

If the type of work you do necessitates wearing protective clothing and/or gloves and these are made of synthetic material, then try to wear a cotton layer underneath to soak up any sweat. Take occasional breaks and remove the cotton layer to prevent a buildup of sweat.

As soon as you are able to, take a bath or shower using a small amount of mild soap. The temperature should not be too hot but rather cool or warm and it is good idea to soak for 15 to 20 minutes so that the skin’s outer layer can absorb moisture. After your bath or shower, dry the skin carefully by patting rather than rubbing with a soft towel and then apply a moisturizer which will help seal in the moisture.

It is a good idea to use a moisturizer on your skin every day as this will help to keep it soft and flexible. The best moisturizer would be a basic one without extra ingredients or fragrances and one that is more greasy than creamy. You can even use a plain petroleum jelly (for example Vaseline).

Go to our H-Eczema page


• Familydoctor.org