Advice for daily life
When breakouts are triggered, they seem insurmountable... In addition to treatments that will significantly improve the situation, a few simple tips can relieve itching, pain, sleep disturbances and prevent patients from feeling helpless.
The vicious circle of eczema
Although scratching provides temporary relief, it breaks down the skin's barrier function, thereby promoting the penetration of irritants and allergens which trigger further itching… And so begins the vicious circle of itching.
Only proper treatment can prevent the itching, which leads to uncontrollable scratching and feeds the vicious circle of atopy.
In order to reduce the effect of scratching with infants, cover their hands with cotton gloves and ensure they are never naked: this will significantly reduce scratches. Turn babygrows and t-shirts inside-out to prevent the seams from scratching. Later, and this also applies to adults, make sure the nails are always cut and avoid synthetic and woolen fabrics at all costs.
Avoid incessantly repeating "Stop scratching yourself!". Most of the time, your child doesn't even notice... Rather give them a gentle caress, thermal water spray and a knob of cream to soothe the itching.
The urge to scratch can also be psychological: scratching a cloth or other person instead is a good distraction.
Reduce discomfort and relieve pain:
When red patches burn and lesions tug or swell, thermal water is a great help. Keep the water in the fridge to keep it cold, for extra soothing.
- Keep the creams in the fridge too so they are cool when applied to the skin.
- Put cold and smooth pebbles on the lesions or use a fan to cool them down
- The room's temperature should be kept at 19°C on average.
- Place a thermal water spray and tube of cream on the nightstand
The hygiene of atopic skin requires special attention to prevent further irritation and tightness.
- Bath time should not exceed 5-10 minutes at 35 °C maximum (hot water causes itching). A few drops of bath oil provide comfort to atopic skin.
- Give preference to showers (even for babies, as soon as they can stand)
- Alternate with a brief cleansing session with little water or milk cleanser if the skin suffers from extreme dryness.
- Use Syndet or extra-moisturising, soap-free gel to wash the skin gently
- Avoid using a washcloth
- Rinse and dry without rubbing the body - rather dab it with a cotton towel.
- Moisturise when the skin is still damp
Coping with stress
Stress is both a trigger for breakouts and a consequence of the illness, but it is not inevitable. Learning to control it can significantly increase quality of life. Yoga, relaxation therapy and massages are worth a try.