Even for experienced travellers, planning a trip can be difficult. Flights may be delayed or cancelled, your luggage might get lost, and weather conditions can cause havoc. This is without considering any chronic conditions you may have to deal with during the trip.
According to the National Eczema Association, severe eczema can cause skin conditions that could disrupt your plans. This includes rashes, skin discolouration, dry skin, and skin itches.
Severe Eczema and Traveling: The Challenge
People with eczema may find it difficult to travel.
First, your skin can become more sensitive depending on where you are going. This applies to hot and humid climates and cold and dry ones.
“If you travel somewhere cold or deserted, your skin may feel dry and different,” Suzanne Friedler MD, FAAD says. She is a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology, New York City.
According to the NEA, eczema can also be triggered by climate changes.
You may be more susceptible to food or environmental allergies if you have severe eczema.
Mohammad Jafferany MD, executive director of the Association for Psych Neurocutaneous Medicine of North America, and a Saginaw, Michigan psychoder dermatologist, said many allergies exist. This could include allergies from the air or food and allergies from eating unfamiliar foods and drinks.
Eczema can also trigger emotional stress, which can be linked to travel. You should consider flight cancellations, missed connecting flights, lost luggage and other travel hazards.
Travelling with Eczema: How to Make it Easier
It’s essential to understand your eczema triggers so that you can make your journey as easy as possible. These are some tips to help you get started:
- All of your eczema medication should be brought. You can take your prescription medication with you even if you are flying. Dr Jafferany says, “Ensure that you have either a supply of your medication in another area or that they are with you.” You can bring your medication to the airport with a valid prescription. If you are travelling on a shorter trip, you may also be able to take your creams and lotions along in a small travel-safe container. You can bring your medication if you travel by any other method than an aeroplane. However, it is best to double-check before you leave.
- Avoid using hotel lotions and soaps. Avoid harsh soaps and creams that can aggravate eczema. Even though you might not be allowed to carry them in your luggage, it is a good idea to keep the moisturizers you use at home so you can have them when you travel. Experts say moisturizers are an essential part of your treatment for eczema.
- Be careful when you are in the water. Are you going for a swim in the water? Dr Friedler says the local water might be more complex or soft than your home. This can cause skin irritation. After you have dried off, rinse off the water. Make sure to moisturize your skin. You can also take a few quick, lukewarm baths at home. She suggests limiting your time in the pool if your skin reacts to chlorine-rich water. You might be able to tolerate a pool if your skin is healthy. But you must listen to your body. She adds that what works for one person might not work for another.
- Your skin should be kept dry but not too humid. Friedler says that cotton clothing should be loose and light in hot climates. They will help wick sweat away. Consider bringing a humidifier if you are going to dry climates. You can also call your hotel to inquire if they have one. You want to prevent your skin from becoming dry and irritated while minimizing exposure to water and sweat.
- You should plan ahead for allergies to food and drinks. If you have eczema caused by food allergies or drinks, research the local options. Jeffery suggests that you bring your own food and beverages in an emergency.
- Take your time. Give yourself enough time to reach your destination and pass security checks. The NEA recommends researching your destination in advance to know what to expect. You can plan some activities, but you should also be able to adjust your expectations for unexpected events. Travel is an adventure. Jeffery says that travelling is an overwhelming experience for many people. This includes planning and executing the trip.