I had a terrible case of chronic eczema as a child. I absolutely hated washing my hands because doing so was usually accompanied by a painful, itchy red rash on my fingers, wrists and inner elbows. It went on for years, and I distinctly remember those visits to see Dr. Scanlon to try yet another ointment because none of the others worked after a short while.
At some point as I grew older, I realized I'd grown out of it. Until the COVID-19 pandmic made me realize that I hadn't.
I totally get the frequent hand washing and/or using hand sanitizer to try to slow the spread of the virus, but I guarantee that those who are pushing those solutions do not suffer from eczema!
I'm now living with the most painful flareup of eczema that I've had in over 15 years. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it's awful... and painful... and when it doesn't hurt like hell, it itches like crazy.
As if the hand washing and hand sanitizing wasn't bad enough, I've also discovered that I'm allergic to plastic gloves, which only make the rashes even more inflamed.
So with the help of my great healthcare team, I'm learning some ways to lessen the severity, if not the duration, of eczema flares related to heightened COVID-19 safety precautions.
Moisturize. Use a hypo-allergenic, dermatologist-recommended skin creme... and use lots of it. My dermatologist recommended CeraVe. It's not the cheapest skin lotion on the market, but I'm willing to pay a bit more if it helps me hurt a bit less. It comes in several formulations, and although I haven't tried the Moisturizing Cream for Itch Relief because I already had plenty of Moisturizing Creme, Daily Face and Body Moisturizer for Dry Skin, I definitely plan to try the itch relief version when I need to restock. I've discovered two great things about CeraVe - a little goes a long way and it's replaced my daily facial moisturizer. HELPFUL HINT: For tough cases of eczema, or extremely dry skin, choose a moisturizing product that is packaged in a tub. Those are usually thicker, and therefore provide more protection, that products that can fit through the tiny hole at the end of a pump dispenser.
Hydrate. I know I don't need to elaborate on this one, but drink plenty of water. I'll be the first one to admit that I'm terrible at drinking water (I inherited that from my mother!), but I try to drink as much as I can because I'm told it helps, and it certainly can't hurt.
Protect. It only took a second for my doctor to figure out a big part of my problem with this current eczema flare when she asked me what seems to trigger the worst symptoms. Plastic gloves. She calmly stated that I should be wearing white cotton gloves. Huh? Like I did when I got dressed up for Easter Sunday when I was little? Yep, those are the ones. Like just about anything else in the world you could need, you can find very inexpensive, machine washable, white cotton gloves like these on Amazon.
Here are a few other helpful tips for living with eczema:
Use hand soap, body wash, and body lotion formulated for sensitive skin.
Get plenty of rest and try to manage stress levels, which I know is especially hard now with all the world is going through, but rest is vital to our health and stress is a trigger for eczema and a host of other unpleasant issues.
Identify your triggers and try to minimize them as much as possible (don't forget to consider food and/or chemical sensitivities)
Avoid harsh chemicals on your skin.
Avoid rough synthetic fabrics... cotton is usually the best for your skin.
Use laundry detergent and dryer sheets or liquid made for sensitive skin.
Yes, I saved the hardest one for last...
Sending healing wishes,