When Eczema Creeps Up On Us
I love a good mystery, but when it involves solving the case of the emerging eczema eruption, I’m not a fan at all. I’m finding eczema areas on my son that were previously undetected. Chase is 6 years old and has had mild cases of eczema since birth. His smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom skin sometimes covered with patches of eczema. Since his case is milder than his siblings, instances of eczema tend to not flare up as often. We’ll go through months without incident.
Monitoring skin changes
Now that it’s Fall in New England, the temperature is cooler and the air dryer. I’m used to keeping a close watch on the kids’ skin during these Fall and Winter months. During this time their skin is typically drier and requires more moisturizer. A lot of times we are proactive and moisturize all over the body with an over-the-counter eczema cream. I see the cream as a palm-sized ounce of prevention! Yet, there are days as a single Mom of three kids where we are too busy and I don’t get around to moisturizing Chase’s skin. Next thing I know I’m helping him get dressed and there’s a large red, dry spot on his knees. Then at night, when he’s finally stopped running around like a mini-superhero, he’s scratching around his ears. After closer examination, the creases under his earlobes are red and crusty.
How did eczema creep up on us? How did this happen so quickly? It seemed like his skin went from smooth to crusty in hours! Here’s how I think Chase’s eczema flare-ups crept up on us this Fall.
Handling weather changes
- New England weather can be so unpredictable. It’s in the 60s one day and then 75 degrees the day after. We’re constantly switching from shorts to fleece pants on alternating days. We just had a weekend of shorts-wearing weather in the middle of October! Yet today it’s a chilly 50 degrees. To sum it up, it was easy to not feel the need to moisturize when Chase was sweating and wearing shorts in October. Now that the weather seems to consistently be in the 60s or cooler, we’ll be back on a normal routine of daily moisturizing. (However, just checking the weather, it’s going to be in the mid-70s in 2 days. Sigh.)
- At 6 years old he’s mostly dressing himself, so I’m not always there to see all his body parts and make note of any dry spots.
- Similarly, he’s mostly showering by himself, which means I’m not seeing him in his “birthday suit” as often and inspecting his body for new eczema spots.
- Lastly, with our co-parenting schedule, Chase is not with me every day. I can’t examine his skin every day.
Making an action plan
This is what I’ve decided to do.
- In the Fall and Winter, moisturize daily regardless of weather.
- On our best days, I will moisturize his whole body. But, realistically there are days when our schedules get crazy and it’s a fight to get him to stand still long enough. Also, it’s colder now so he is less eager to be without clothes on while I apply the eczema cream. On these tough days, I will at least apply cream on the areas where he’s most likely to get a flare up.
- Make it a point to check for dry spots before or after his shower.
Hopefully, by taking these steps I can avoid having eczema flare-ups creep up on us unexpectedly.
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?