Eczema in the Winter

Eczema Basics

Eczema. Photo (c) Richard Stanley

Kids with eczema typically have flares, or times when their skin gets red and itchy, throughout the year.

Often there doesn't seem to be any pattern to these flares, which can be very frustrating to parents and kids who work hard to keep it under good control.

Certain times of year can be worse than others though. Some parents notice that their kids have more worsening eczema symptoms in the summer, when they are hot, sweating, and often swimming.

Eczema in the Winter

Winter can be a particularly bad time of year for kids with eczema.

Contributing to eczema problems during the winter include:

  • cold, dry air outside, and harsh windy days
  • dry air inside, and associated low humidity, because you often have the heater on
  • wearing heavy clothing, with irritating fabrics, including wool, to try and keep warm

To help prevent eczema flares during the winter, be sure to follow your usual skin care regimen, which should include the use of mild soaps, frequent use of moisturizers, and avoiding known triggers.

Winter Eczema Tips

During the winter, you may need to increase the use of a moisturizer or switch to something 'stronger.' For example, if you typically use a lotion to moisturize your child's skin, consider switching to a cream, or better yet, an ointment, such as Aquaphor.

A humidifier and keeping your home at a comfortable, but not overly warm, temperature can also be helpful.

Keep in mind that the regular use of a humidifier can increase dust mites and mold, and if your child with eczema also has allergies or asthma, then it could worsen those conditions.

Most importantly, if your child has hard to control eczema in the winter, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician so that you can be prepared for any extra flares that your child gets and you can discuss better preventative skin care.

Other Winter Skin Rashes

Even if your kids don't have eczema, it is not uncommon to see kids with rashes this time of year. The same conditions that trigger eczema flares can cause:

  • lip licker's dermatitis - a red rash around their lips
  • dry skin - generalized dry skin on their arms and legs, which may be itchy, but without the intense itchiness of eczema
  • dry, cracked hands - have your kids wear gloves in the winter to protect their hands from the winter cold, and apply a moisturizer after handwashing. Avoiding alcohol-based handsanitizers is also a good idea for kids with dry skin.

How do you prevent these kinds of winter skin rashes?

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