Holidays and eczema: better or worse?

author/source: DrB


In clinic at the first appointment to start The Combined Approach programme for atopic eczema we always ask about the factors that can either improve or worsen the condition. While rubbing and scratching never makes things better, and can make things much worse, what is striking is how nearly all the other well-known factors affecting eczema, from stress to sensitivities, and from season to swimming, vary considerably from person to person in importance. We are all different!

This time of the year in London the warm summer weather makes us think especially about holidays. Most people report skin seems to benefit from getting away, de-stressing on a beach somewhere, and enjoying the sand and sea experience - but not everyone. Although sunshine seems good for some, it needs to be taken in moderation, and some need to take great care because of photosensitivity.

Going away on holiday with eczema means taking the creams and ointments along too, even if all is well before one goes. Strange places can produce reactions that need prompt treatment. Remember it can be difficult finding what you want when away from home. Also, sun screen creams need understanding and need using if you want to avoid trouble, both while on holiday, and long term.

If you are sensitive to the house dust mite and you have dealt with it at home, remember when away in a hotel or a rented place there may problems lurking - especially in the bed room. Consider taking with you a set of dust-mite proof bed linen.

On the way there and back by air, remember how dry the air is in a pressurised cabin at altitude: especially on long haul flights, moisturise before boarding and again in flight if necessary, and favour water over alcohol when drinks are served!  While away, if you stay somewhere with air conditioning and you are not used to it, watch out! It can also produce bone-dry air that sucks the water out of your skin - appropriate moisturiser use before and after sleep can help prevent a lot of itching and scratching the next day!

Happy holidays!

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