Skin asthma is more commonly known as eczema or atopic dermatitis. This auto-immune disease tends to affect people who are already predisposed to allergies and/or asthma. Because it is related to allergies, skin asthma reactions tend to occur in response to specific triggers or irritants. This reaction is typically marked by red, scaly patches, although cracked skin or small white bumps are another way that it can appear. With any reaction, skin asthma is extremely itchy and often can be unsightly. Moisturizing, boosting your immunity and prevention are all good ways to treat your skin asthma.
Doctors recommend moisturizing your skin at least twice per day with over-the-counter creams or ointments that can not only relieve dryness but also create a barrier between you and irritants. If this type of moisturizing is not providing enough relief, speak to your dermatologist about using a stronger moisturizer. Corticosteroid creams are a very effective way of not only relieving the dryness but healing the irritated patches caused by skin asthma. Depending on the severity of your condition, corticosteroid creams are available over the counter or by prescription. Be aware that extended use of corticosteroid creams comes with long-term side effects that can include skin thinning and discoloration. If this is a concern, a good alternative to a corticosteroid cream is a non-steroid variety. This type of cream is available by prescription but does come in only one strength. Side effects are mild and can include headache and sore throat.
Speak with your dermatologist to determine which type of moisturizer is best for you.
Because skin asthma is an auto-immune disease, boosting your immunity is a good way to combat this condition. Take a daily multivitamin along with supplements, such as omega 3, that are known to reduce inflammation. It's always preferable to get your vitamins naturally so be sure to eat foods such as salmon, flax seed, walnuts and spinach, which are all high in omega 3. Another good way to boost your immunity is with exercise. Exercise can help eliminate stress, which can be a skin asthma trigger for some people. Low-impact workouts, including yoga, tai chi and swimming, are good ways to exercise.
Avoiding the irritants that exacerbate your condition can be key in reducing the frequency of your skin asthma flare-ups. Pollens, molds, dust, smoke, pollutants, chemicals, rough materials, sweat, detergents and even certain weather conditions are all potential triggers of your skin asthma. If you are uncertain about which triggers aggravate your skin asthma, keep a log or diary as to when and where reactions crop up. Another way to help prevent flare-ups is to keep shower temperatures cool and to limit your time showering. Be sure to wash with mild soaps and to moisturize immediately following bathing. Always purchase fragrant-free, dye-free and/or hypoallergenic items that your skin may come into contact with. This applies to creams, detergents, cleaners and makeup.