How Do You Get Eczema?

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause the skin to be inflamed and irritated. Doctors call eczema dermatitis and atopic eczema. The word atopic means it usually develops along with something else and dermatitis means it deals with the skin. The word atopic is a clue to how you get eczema, it is usually the result of something else.

Eczema and Allergies

eczema is related to allergies

The reason doctors refer to this condition as “atopic” is because it usually happens as a result of allergies. So, even if hay fever doesn’t have you sneezing or asthma doesn’t have you wheezing, your skin problem is probably a symptom of allergy.

Eczema begins with itching and a rash. Even before the rash shows up, the itching starts. The skin becomes dry. Then the dry skin becomes very thick and comes off in flakes or scales. It shows up on the face or behind the knees or even the wrists and hands. The more it flakes, the more the skin grows back with even thicker flakes. It seems like an endless cycle and it itches. This skin condition occurs in infants and adults.

Your skin is telling you that you are having an allergic reaction. Eczema tends to run in families with a history of asthma or allergies. Eczema is not contagious. If more than one person in the family has it; they didn’t catch it from another family member; they inherited it.

Treating Eczema

Since this is an allergy-related condition, it can’t be cured; but it can be controlled. Avoiding triggers like dust or pollen can help. In small children and infants, eczema is commonly caused by food allergies or allergies to soaps or laundry detergents.

Talk to the doctor about allergy-testing. You may have developed new allergies since your last test. Since avoidance is always key to controlling allergies, it pays to periodically update your allergy testing.

Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines or steroidal creams. Don’t use a hydrocortisone cream without talking to the doctor or pharmacist first. Some of these creams can irritate eczema and make it worse.

paraben free moisturizer relieves eczema

Be Kind to Your Skin

Don’t forget to be kind to your skin. It’s the largest organ in your body.  Don’t wash in very hot water and gently pat skin dry when you are finished. Don’t rub and don’t scrub with the towel. Dermatologists recommend that you apply moisturizer while skin is still damp. Always use a paraben free moisturizer without any fragrance or dye. Parabens, formaldehydes, dyes and fragrances can all irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

During a flare, cold compresses or a soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath are two ways to be especially kind to your skin.

Remember, you don’t get eczema from friends or roommates. This skin condition is not contagious; it is related to allergies and it can run in families.





Can Sinus Infections Cause Eye Problems?

Sinus infections can make you miserable. Pressure, pain, drainage and difficulty breathing are classic symptoms. But can sinus infections cause other problems? Can sinus infections cause eye problems or stomach problems? The answer is yes!  Here’s why.

food allergies can cause headaches

Sinus Pressure and Eye Pain

Infected sinuses don’t drain properly. The mucous and debris that build up can cause a feeling of pressure and pain. If the infection is in the ethmoid sinuses (the sinuses located between the eyes) the pressure can cause pain that radiates to the eyes. Infection in the frontal sinuses causes a headache that can feel like it is coming from the eyes. Doctors often recommend decongestants to promote drainage and this reduces the pressure. The reduced pressure eases the pain in the area of the eyes.

Sinus Infection and Blurry Vision

Sinus infections can cause more than just pain in the area of the eyes. In fact, sinus infections can cause problems even if you don’t feel pain. Sinus pressure can impact blood circulation to the eyes. Disruption in blood circulation to the eyes causes sudden, patchy blurred vision. A warm compress across the forehead can ease pressure and reduce the swelling. This restores proper circulation of blood to the eyes and the blurry vision is cleared.  Sudden blurry vision can be a symptom of a serious condition and your doctor should always be consulted.

Sinus Infection and Stomach Problems

Your respiratory system should produce a small amount of thin mucous every day. That’s normal. The excess mucous produced with a sinus infection is thick. There’s also a lot of it. A lot. When it drains, this excess mucous can irritate your digestive system. Nausea and loose stools follows.

Chronic Sinus Infections

It’s not uncommon for a sinus infection to set in after a cold. Most sinus infections respond positively to decongestants and antibiotics. However, if you have recurring sinus infections that’s chronic sinusitis and that’s a serious condition.

See an ENT to get to the bottom for the reason for the infections. You may have structural problems that can be addressed with balloon sinuplasty. If you have allergies, get to an allergist. Uncontrolled allergies can lead to chronic sinusitis.

Don’t let sinus infections cause pain, eye problems or stomach problems.




How Do You Take Care of Wool Bedding?

Wool is a great alternative to down if you have allergies. It is also revered by people with multiple chemical sensitivities. Wool is a great option for organic bedding. But wool needs special care. One of the most common questions people have when considering wool is how to take care of wool bedding. It’s not hard. Just read the label.

wool makes naturally allergy-resistant bedding

Why sheep don’t shrink in the rain but wool does

Ever wonder why sheep don’t shrink when they get wet, but your wool blanket comes out of the dryer a quarter of its original size?

It’s because the wool doesn’t actually shrink, it felts. That’s an entirely different process.

Wool fibers have tiny, flat, overlapping scales on them. These scales always face away from the sheep’s body. When you wash wool, these scales hook onto each other, interlock, and hold on tight.  That’s felting. The fibers hold so tight they pull the surrounding fibers closer. They interlock. Suddenly fibers spread over a large area are now huddled up close, held in place by those scales.

You can process the wool so that these scales are removed or made to always lay flat. That’s how you get washable wool. But not all wool is washable.

How to care for Merino wool bedding

Always read the label first. Merino is a breed of sheep, it isn’t a brand name of wool. Merino sheep produce a wool that is very fine and loaded with keratin. That means it is strong. It is also loaded with lanolin. That makes it naturally antibacterial.

Spot clean Merino wool with a mild detergent or soap made especially for wool. Hang your Merino wool comforter or mattress pad outside on a sunny day.  The ultraviolet light will freshen the bedding.

The best way to keep your Merino wool comforter clean is to encase it in a 100% cotton zippered comforter cover. This keeps the oils from your skin off the cover. If the cover gets soiled, you just remove it and toss it in the wash.

some wool bedding can be washed in a commercial washer

How to care for washable wool bedding

Once again, it pays to read the label. The Allergy Store sells Shropshire and other washable wool bedding than can be safely cleaned at home.

Never crowd your comforter or pad into the washer. If the washer is too small, take it to a commercial laundry or wash it in the bathtub.

Make sure you rinse well. If soap residue coats the wool fibers, you don’t get the benefit of the lanolin or keratin.

Tumble dry with low heat. As with the washing machine, if your dryer is too small to do the job well, take it to the commercial laundry.