Travel or a holiday away from home can be a wonderful experience for the whole family, but it can also be stressful on your little one’s body. Of course you can still make the trip, but it’s important to know that you’ll need to take a number of precautionary steps to keep your child comfortable and flare-up free.
So what’s a concerned parent to do? Mustela’s experts are here to show you how to prevent eczema flare-ups, wherever you might travel.
Maintain Your Child’s Skincare Routine
We all want to relax and unwind while on vacation and during the holidays. But there are some routines that should never be modified. Your child’s skincare regimen is one of them.
Because eczema flare-ups can happen any time, it’s extremely important to apply an emollient like Mustela’s Stelatopia Emollient Cream or Stelatopia Emollient Balm every day. These specially-designed creams and balms will protect your child’s sensitive skin from dry air, allergens, and other triggers regardless of the type of environment your child is in. For harsher climates, multiple daily applications can help keep eczema flare-ups at bay and allow your child to enjoy traveling as much as you do!
Dress Your Child In The Right Clothing
Whether you’re visiting your parents or traveling to another country, it’s important to dress your child in clothes that won’t lead to an eczema outbreak. If possible, pack clothes that are:
- Soft so they don’t irritate your child’s skin.
- Breathable so your child stays cool.
- Made from natural fabrics...but not wool (it’s too scratchy).
- Free of synthetic fibers.
- Loose fitting and not too tight.
- Layered to avoid discomfort in both the heat and cold.
This last point is especially important when the weather is cold. Layering your child’s clothes will allow the heat to move away from your child’s skin while still keeping them warm. And because layers are easy to take off and put on, you can simply add or remove a layer if your child gets too hot or too cold.
Expert tip: Remember to pack Mustela's Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas for naps and bedtime. Made with natural ingredients, these pajamas deliver skin-soothing moisture all night long so your baby can rest well.
Remember The Essentials
It’s always important to pack for bath time when you or your child goes on a trip. We recommend bringing Mustela’s Stelatopia Cleansing Gel and Mustela’s Stelatopia Foam Shampoo for a gentle way to wash your child’s skin and hair without causing a flare-up. For extra protection from the chlorine and salt that can be found in bath water, we suggest using a product like Mustela’s Stelatopia Bath Oil.
Sunscreen And Sun Protection
If you’re traveling to a warm, sunny climate during your holiday, be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen for both you and your child. Whether your child will be playing outside or splashing in the pool or ocean, apply a layer of emollient first, then top it off with an SPF 50+ sunscreen for added protection. These two products are really all you need. But if you think your child might benefit from it, you can have them wear a swim shirt in the water and a hat when they’re outside in the sun.
Sometimes an eczema flare-up can last for more than a week or develop a yellow or light-brown crust or blister. In these cases, it’s important to consult a pediatrician who will prescribe a topical steroid or prescription-strength antihistamine to decrease the inflammation and itching. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and continue to apply the medication while you’re traveling and during the holidays.
If your child is going to spend a few days without you, write up a caregiver instruction list of best practices for preventing eczema flare-ups. Include instructions like:
- When to apply an emollient product.
- What foods to avoid.
- Where and when they can or cannot play.
- What animals they might be allergic to.
- Any triggers that might cause a breakout.
Following these simple essential rules, and remembering to always have an emollient on hand, will help make travel and the holidays a stress-free time for you and your child.
Understand Your Environment
Different environments like the city, countryside, or mountains, can have a dramatic effect on your baby’s eczema. That’s because each environment has its own set of conditions and triggers that can lead to an eczema flare-up if your child is not protected.
So if you live in the city, should you avoid the countryside or the mountains? And if you live in the countryside or the mountains, should you avoid the city? Absolutely not! Your child can go anywhere and everywhere. You just need to plan ahead so that you’re prepared for each location's unique eczema-related challenges.
In The City
In general, cities contain more dust, dirt, and allergens than the countryside or the mountains. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it is because tall buildings trap a large number of allergens in a small area. A great indicator of this fact is the smog that plagues large urban areas.
Despite the high allergen levels, the city can be a very educational experience for your child. Just be sure to follow a few simple steps to prevent eczema flare-ups when exploring and everyone will be happy.
1) Keep Your Child Cool
Keeping your child cool during a trip to the city is an essential part of preventing a flare-up. The tall buildings in the city can trap heat and send temperatures soaring. That heat can make them uncomfortable, irritate their already-sensitive skin, and lead to a flare-up. To prevent this, dress your child in cool, breathable clothing to allow the heat to move away from their skin.
2) Air Out Your Indoor Areas As Much As Possible
As simple as it may sound, airing out your hotel room will help prevent eczema flare-ups. The allergens that are more plentiful in the city can accumulate in enclosed places (like hotel rooms) where they can act as powerful triggers on your baby’s atopic-prone skin.
In The Countryside
If your family lives in the city, visiting the countryside can be an especially exciting time for your child. The wide open spaces, grass, trees, and wildlife can fill your child’s eyes with wonder. Unfortunately, that same grass, trees and wildlife can introduce eczema triggers that your child’s skin might not be used to. What’s more, your child is probably going to want to spend as much time as possible outside, regardless of the repercussions, so they can play and run around. So how can you protect them from an eczema outbreak in this new environment?
1) Dress Your Child In Long Sleeves And Long Pants
Dressing your child in long sleeves and long pants can help prevent eczema flare-ups caused by the many triggers found in the countryside. It’s important to cover their body with soft, breathable, natural fabrics. This will provide an added layer of protection by keeping irritating flora from coming into contact with your child’s skin.
2) Use A Cleansing Water To Keep Your Baby’s Skin Free From Allergens
Bathing your child is a great way to prevent eczema flare-ups while in the countryside but overdoing those baths can actually lead to more problems. It’s best to bathe your baby once per day to remove dirt and allergens that build up from daily activity. In between baths, we recommend a gentle cleansing product like Mustela’s No Rinse Cleansing Water for added protection against allergens that can trigger a flare-up. This will keep your baby happy, healthy, and comfortable while maintaining the hydrolipidic layer that keeps allergens from irritating their skin.
In The Mountains
The city has tall buildings and lots going on. The countryside has wide-open spaces and lots of room to run. The mountains have, well, mountains! When your child is used to the other two environments, a trip to the mountains can be a truly exciting experience.
Like the city and the countryside, the mountains offer their own unique set of eczema triggers that need to be guarded against. The pure, cool air found at higher elevations is great for eczema-prone skin because it contains less allergens. But that air can also be significantly drier than the air found in the city or the countryside. As with the other environments, the best thing you can do is apply an emollient to your child’s skin multiple times a day. On top of that, here are two additional tips to help reduce the risk of an eczema flare-up when up in the mountains.
1) Keep Dust To A Minimum
When you’re visiting the mountains, you should vacuum the area where your child sleeps, and where they spend most of their indoor time. This will cut down on the airborne triggers that can lead to swollen, itchy skin.
If you are staying in a hotel, explain your situation to the desk attendant and they will be happy to send a housekeeper to your room to perform another vacuuming. If you’re staying with friends, ask to borrow the vacuum and sweep all the areas where your child might go during your stay. Don’t be afraid to vacuum multiple times during your stay.
2) Raise The Humidity Inside To Keep Skin Hydrated
The dry air at higher elevations can be a major trigger for eczema-prone skin. To prevent itchy outbreaks, monitor the humidity in your child’s room (or in the whole house), and raise it above 30 percent if at all possible. Simple ways to do that include:
- Running a humidifier in your child’s room.
- Placing pots of water on the heating vents.
- Hanging a wet towel in your child’s room.
Keeping the air moist inside will help prevent the water on your child’s skin from evaporating too quickly. More moisture means less dry skin, which means flare-ups will be less likely to occur.
Following these simple suggestions, and remembering to always have an emollient product on hand, will help make travel and the holidays stress-free for you and your little one regardless of where you spend your time.