Managing Food-Related Triggers With Eczema

Food is one of those elusive factors that can be mysterious and yet so impactful if we are not careful about monitoring what we eat when we get flares. In this article, I will share my best tips and advice for how I manage my food-related triggers, how I try to avoid them, and heal them if they occur.

How do I know when a food has triggered my eczema?

When I have a new food related trigger, the first thing I will notice is the timeline of when I develop a new rash versus the last time I ate something. I find this investigative method to be especially effective if I've tried a new food or a new restaurant for the first time and soon after develop a rash or a current rash gets worse. In my experience, I typically find the timeline from eating something or somewhere new to the development or worsening of a current rash seems to be either:

  1. Immediately
  2. Within 30 minutes
  3. Within 3 hours
  4. Within 3 days

What are the likely suspects?

If I have a new or worsening eczema flare up within any of those timeframes, I am usually able to recall back to what I ate some time within the past 3 days and see if there is anything that could have been left to chance, or anything new or different that I had consumed.

When I say “left to chance,” I am referring to foods that I'm kind of taking a risk with. They are usually new food I have never eaten before, processed food, food I eat while dining out, or food that is in one of the following categories: sugary, spicy, dairy, seafood, and sometimes nuts.

How does eating out complicate things?

The thing with processed food and food eaten while dining out is that you don't know exactly what this food has potentially been contaminated or mixed with. Even if you think you ordered something that is “safe,” you don’t know if the utensils, dishes, or cookware that was used had made contact with other food that you are allergic to. Unless you can guarantee that they're using absolutely new and/or thoroughly washed and sanitized equipment before preparing your meal, this is always going to be a risk when dining out.

How can you control for food triggers?

My best advice for dealing with this dilemma is to learn how to cook so that you are in total control of what you are putting in your body. Other than that, if you don't like to cook or are not interested, if you can afford it, maybe you hire someone to cook for you. Or you make the extra effort to communicate with the waiter and kitchen staff about your predicament and what you require and see if they are willing to accommodate your requests or not. If not then you can take your money elsewhere because your health is not worth the risk of suffering.

Many eczema warriors know the struggle of how one day or one night of indulgence can lead to days and potentially weeks or months of suffering in itching and inflammation. In my opinion, it is not worth it in the long run and only prolongs the healing process.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How do you handle food-related triggered? Please sound off in the comments below!

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