Eczema, a common skin condition that results in scaly, itchy patches, is quite common in elderly adults. Many family caregivers are familiar with it and work hard to keep the symptoms under control, so their aging loved ones are not uncomfortable or in pain. However, the winter months tend to cause flare-ups with eczema, worsening the appearance and symptoms dramatically.
Family caregivers and elder care providers that are not aggressive in prevention and treatment will soon see the elderly adult suffer more. Fortunately, with dedication and care, a winter flare-up of eczema in seniors can be avoided.
What is Eczema in Seniors?
Whenever a senior is diagnosed with eczema, family caregivers should learn all they can about the condition. It results in dry patches of skin that can appear on the face, neck, arms, legs, or torso. At a minimum, those with eczema experience discomfort via itching and pain. Serious cases of eczema can result in cracking skin, sores, and even infection. Immediately, family caregivers need to implement a top-notch skin care regimen with the guidance of a doctor to minimize the symptoms and keep seniors comfortable.
Why Does Winter Weather Cause Eczema Flare-Ups?
No matter what time of year, eczema can have a big impact on an aging adult’s quality of life. However, the winter flare-ups are often considered to be some of the most painful and unhealthy. These dry patches become even more itchy, swollen and cracked. This causes incredible discomfort and it can even form ulcers.
The reason eczema is worse in the winter often has to do with the temperature extremes that seniors face. From cold weather outside to dry heat inside, the skin loses a lot of moisture that it normally has. This can trigger an eczema flare-up. Another contributor is the type of clothing that people usually wear in winter—wool, polyester, and thicker fabrics that can be more irritating. Contrast this with cotton and other lightweight and soft fabrics that are common in summer. Finally, winter can lead to wet clothing against the skin, whether from the elements or from seniors sweating under too many layers. This can exacerbate eczema, too.
How Can Family Caregivers Relieve Winter Flare-ups of Eczema
The best way for family caregivers and elder care providers to fight eczema in the winter is to keep the skin as moist as possible. This means applying a good moisturizer one to two times per day, especially after a bath or shower. If the elderly adult has a topical cream from the doctor, they should use this as well. Family caregivers and elder care providers should consider using one or more humidifiers in the house to moisten the air and reduce the itchiness of eczema.
Other ways to combat a winter flare-up of eczema is to dress in soft and breathable fabrics, avoid hot water showers or baths, and never go outside without the skin being covered. Eczema may never completely go away, but family caregivers can help their elderly loved ones by minimizing the environmental influences that make it worse than it could be.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Deerfield IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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