Although we love Christmas, it can be a difficult time for anyone with eczema or food allergies. The cold weather alone can have a huge impact on our skin. Icy blasts of wind followed by the drying effects of central heating can leave skin parched and sore. Miss T’s eczema was always at its worst at Christmas thanks to a combination of the cold weather, sugary foods, hot stuffy rooms and a general change in routine. Strange foods always bring new challenges for anyone with food allergies, but a with a little forward planning there are ways to try and combat flare-ups and reactions at this time of year.
Here are our top five favourite tips for surviving Christmas with allergies.
1. Christmas Tree – Real or Fake?!
Unfortunately some of us are allergic to real trees as we react to the mould spores. Even the smell of the pine resin can set you sneezing if you are sensitive, especially if you suffer from asthma. Fake trees may be a better option, but remember to give them a shake outside and a quick hoover to remove any accumulated dust as this can also trigger dust mite allergies.
2. Festive Foods.
There are lots of new foods around at Christmas and simply having a richer diet can be a trigger for an eczema flare-up. Try to limit sugary snacks as the bacteria that helps create eczema loves to feed on sugar. Stock up on ‘Free From’ foods so that there are safe, yummy treats on hand. Free From Kids have a great selection of delicious foods and stocking fillers so no-one needs to feel like they are missing out.
When eating out, ring restaurants before you arrive to discuss your allergies with the staff. If you can suffer from anaphylaxis, make sure you let a colleague or friend know where you keep your epipen and what they need to do in an emergency.
3. Keep Your Medicine Cabinet Well Stocked.
Make sure all your medicines are up-to-date. Do you have enough anti-histamines and inhalers? Is your epipen still in date? Check you have enough emollients to last you through the holiday week when it may be difficult to get a doctor’s appointment or any prescriptions renewed.
Routines can go out of the window at Christmas but it’s really important to keep applying your creams to stop your skin from drying out. Central heating pushes out hot, dry air and then it’s freezing cold when we go outside – the perfect combination to provoke an eczema flare-up. Consider wet wrapping at night as this can really help to get moisture back into dry, parched skin.
Party clothes tend to be hot, synthetic and itchy. Try to keep a layer of pure cotton or bamboo next to your skin to give it some protection. For long car journeys keep a pair of ScratchMeNots or ScratchSleeves to hand to protect skin from little fingers. If you’re staying away from home remember that different washing powders or fabric conditioners may have been used so it may be worth taking your own bedding along with you. A sleeping bag is perfect for babies and toddlers as it can double up as a cosytoes for the buggy too.
Fingers crossed that we all have a wonderful, allergy-free Christmas this year. However with a little forward planning we should all be able to deal safely with any new challenges that the festive season brings us.