Eczema, known medically as atopic dermatitis, describes dry, itchy skin that can develop into a rash when scratched or irritated. According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine, “Genetic as well as environmental factors are thought to play a part in the pathogenesis.” In this post, we focus on some environmental factors that may be found in your home.
It’s a common misconception that there are hypoallergenic breeds of cats and dogs, when in fact it isn’t their hair or fur that triggers allergies or eczema. Instead, it’s the saliva, urine or dander (skin flakes) that causes symptoms. If you can’t bear to part with your pets, try to keep them out of your bedroom, and limit contact when possible.
Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that feed on dead skin flakes and other particles found in dust. It’s not the dust mites themselves that trigger this and other allergy symptoms, but the enzymes in their waste and decaying bodies. To limit dust mites, wash bedding weekly in hot water, invest in allergen-proof covers, vacuum and dust with a wet rag regularly.
Soaps containing fragrances and dyes can be harsh for your skin if you have eczema. In a similar vein, many laundry detergents and fabric softeners can irritate eczema. Try to find gentle soaps and fragrance-free detergents.
Hot water and warm environments can also trigger eczema symptoms. Shower in cooler water and try to keep your home between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Try wearing gloves when doing dishes to protect your hands from the hot water and soaps. Wear cotton or cotton blend clothing, which is more breathable than other materials.
Tobacco smoke is an irritant for people with eczema, including second-hand smoke. Consult local resources to quit smoking, and encourage others in your home who smoke to do the same. An allergist can evaluate your eczema symptoms and help you identify your triggers.
For more information about allergies, eczema triggers or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Carolina Pines ENT today.