Covid-19 has affected everyone, especially those with pre-existing health conditions. To avoid contracting Covid-19, many people identified as being “clinically extremely vulnerable” were advised to take extra care (or “shield”). Thankfully, “There is no evidence to suggest that people with eczema are more likely to develop Covid-19 or to experience a more severe form of the condition if they do develop it.” (Eczema.org). However, there are a number of ways in which Covid-19 has greatly affected the everyday lives of eczema sufferers, if you have eczema, read on to find out more:
During this Coronavirus Pandemic, as a nation, we have been more stressed than ever before. Common worries have included health, work, education and finances. That’s not to mention the anxiety of no longer seeing our friends and missing family members.
Unfortunately, stress can often trigger your eczema to flare up. This then turns into a catch 22 situation as it creates even more anxiety, which then leads to more eczema flare-ups. Where you previously felt you might have had your eczema well-controlled, you may have found yourself struggling once more.
An added stress was the difficulty of going to the doctors during the peak of the crisis, thankfully online chemists such as Oxford Online Pharmacy were still able to (and continue to) fulfil their patients’ needs.
If you are currently using a topical steroid cream for your eczema treatment and keep needing stronger treatments, be aware that it can be difficult to stop taking them. If you stop using topical corticosteroids after using them continuously for a long time (usually over 12 months in adults), you may experience topical steroid withdrawal. The NHS states that withdrawal symptoms can include:
- redness or changes in skin colour (this may not be as noticeable on darker skin)
- burning, stinging, itching or peeling of the skin, or oozing, open sores
If you experience these it’s time to review your treatment.
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the public have been advised to wash hands more frequently and for more than 20 seconds. Unfortunately, increased handwashing can cause problems to skin complaint sufferers, including dry skin and hand eczema.
To reduce the risk of problems, wash your hands with eczema friendly soap and water, rather than an emollient soap substitute, as much as practically possible. Soap is considered to be more effective than emollient at breaking the lipid envelope surrounding coronavirus particles and removing the virus from the skin. By using soap you’re not only neutralizing the virus, but you’re also physically knocking it off your hands.
After washing hands with soap and water, re-wash using emollient to help protect the skin. You can also use emollients to moisturise your hands after washing and at other times during the day when your skin feels dry and sore. Make sure you dry your hands well after washing by gently patting them dry, don’t rub them. Remember to take special care between your fingers where the skin is more prone to dryness and cracking.
If needed, you can rehydrate sore dry hands overnight, using an ointment and by wearing clean cotton gloves. Wearing gloves at night can help you to avoid scratching too. There may be times when you need to use sanitising gel, which can irritate your eczema. If you use sanitiser, be sure to apply your usual emollient afterwards to minimise any irritant effect. Contact your GP or Pharmacist if you develop more severe hand eczema or suspect your skin is infected.
3. Wearing a Mask
Many mask wearers have reported experiencing “maskne” since needing to wear a mask due to Covid. Unfortunately, wearing a mask can also trigger an eczema flare-up. You can avoid discomfort by wearing a washable face covering made from 100% cotton. Cloth ear loops are less likely to irritate the skin than elastic ones. If you do suffer badly from eczema behind the ears, consider coverings that tie around the back of the head instead. Make sure the covering fits snugly around your nose and mouth but isn’t too tight. As tempting as it is avoid applying ointment emollients to the face just before you put on a covering, as they might make the face too hot.
If you have severe facial eczema that is made worse by wearing a face covering, you may be exempt from wearing a mask, contact your GP or dermatology department for further information. If you are exempt, you can print out exemption badges and cards on the Government website
Image source: Unsplash