Eczema is a common skin problem in elderly adults, mostly because their skin loses a lot of the suppleness it once had, which encourages dry and scaly patches to form. While eczema is usually present all year round, winter weather can cause a flare-up. Family caregivers and elder care providers must work extra hard to help seniors stay comfortable and pain-free when their eczema flairs up.
Any family caregivers that aren’t sure what to do about their aging loved one’s winter flare-up of eczema should take the time to read these frequently asked questions.
Q: What does an eczema flare-up mean?
A: Eczema is a chronic skin condition where patches become dry and inflamed. These areas are usually itchy and irritated. Winter flare-ups may cause the patches to become painful and extremely dry, resulting in cracks and sores. During a winter flare-up, eczema that was perhaps limited to one or two areas could then appear elsewhere, especially on the extremities like the arms, legs, and face.
Q: Are winter flare-ups of eczema harmful to seniors?
A. Whereas eczema is usually just a mild irritation during warmer weather, it can become extremely painful during a winter flare-up. Without treatment winter flare-ups of eczema in aging adults may cause areas to swell up, crack and form ulcers. Because aging adults often have a weaker immune system, they are more likely to develop infections through the broken skin.
Q: Why does winter weather cause an eczema flare-up?
A: Eczema in seniors is worsened by winter conditions that include temperature fluctuations and extremely dry air. Other factors include too-hot baths and showers, dehydration, and irritating clothing such as wool sweaters. Family caregivers and senior care providers can do a lot to help alleviate the winter weather triggers that induce a flare-up of eczema.
Q: What can family caregivers and elder care providers do to prevent winter flare-ups of eczema?
A: Family caregivers and elder care providers must first keep the aging person’s skin as moist as possible. This includes putting on moisturizer after every shower or bath and at other times throughout the day. Seniors should drink plenty of water to keep skin supple. Finally, family caregivers and elder care providers can run humidifiers in the main room and the bedroom for additional benefit.
Even though eczema is not a life-or-death condition, it can still lead to discomfort, pain, infection and more. Seniors can avoid feeling uncomfortable when their eczema flares up in the winter months when they work with their family caregiver to treat the symptoms and prevent further agitation.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HIRING ELDER CARE IN RIVER NORTH, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE CHICAGO. CALL TODAY: 312.382.8888.