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Winter is a time for cozy sweaters, snowball fights and curling up by the fire. But for those who suffer from atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, winter can be a brutal onslaught of skin flare-ups. The cold, dry air irritates even the healthiest skin and can exacerbate symptoms for eczema sufferers.

The condition, which is characterized by dry, scaly skin that can be intensely itchy, affects more than 31 million Americans and 13 percent of children under the age of 18, according to the National Eczema Association. An atopic disease, eczema often begins in childhood and is common in those who suffer from allergies and/or asthma.

While adults may forget some of the joys of winter, like sledding, building snowmen and making snow angels, children long for snow days when they can play outdoors. Even staying indoors, drinking hot chocolate and playing games, can be tricky this time of year, with HVAC systems pumping dry heat into the house. That makes managing their symptoms—and even those of adults—all the more essential to enjoying the season.

7 Tips to Prevent Flare-Ups:

  1. Identify allergens and avoid them, as they can cause flares.
  2. Shower or bathe with lukewarm water and gentle or sensitive skin formula cleansers. Avoid hot water.
  3. Moisturize immediately after bathing. Rich, specially formulated lotions are best.
  4. Avoid excessive sweating.
  5. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and avoid wool, nylon and other harsh fabrics.
  6. Cleanse clothes carefully, avoiding bleach and fabric softeners.
  7. Use a humidifier at home and keep the thermostat low.

While taking those steps to avoid flare-ups is a great way to keep eczema in check, sometimes treatment is necessary, as well. Whether it’s identifying allergens, which can increase eczema symptoms, creating an effective skincare routine, or finding a medical treatment, the experts at Allergy & Asthma Specialists are well equipped to make winter bearable for those with eczema. 

5 Allergist-Approved Treatment Options:

  1. An allergist may prescribe antihistamines to help control itching.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medicines like tacrolimus, pimecrolimus and EpiCeram are non-steroidal options that can control itching and redness of the skin.
  3. For inflammation, topical steroids may be used, whether in the form of an ointment or a cream.
  4. Antibiotics, as prescribed by an allergist, can be effective for treating skin infections.
  5. New personalized medicine, or biological drugs, as prescribed by an allergist, are showing great promise treating eczema symptoms.

No matter the severity of eczema, keep symptoms in check this winter with the help of a board certified allergist. That way you and your kids can enjoy all the perks of winter, itch-free. 

Fellowship trained, board certified allergists/immunologists comprise the entire physician staff of Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM. Allergy doctors at this premier medical practice provide comprehensive allergy and asthma diagnostics and state of the art treatment, including three types of immunotherapy, at offices located in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

Schedule an appointment today online at www.AllergyandAsthmaWellness.com or by calling 1-800-86COUGH, ext 2.