A Guide to Helping Friends with Allergies (Part 2)
Helping Out a Friend with Eczema
Living with eczema can be difficult. Flare ups can be often, discomfort is a given and mingling with other individuals can be awkward when you're exhibiting red scaly spots all over your body. But friends and families can make it easier by simply being more sympathetic to people with eczema. In order for you to understand what your friend is going through here are a few things your friend with eczema wishes you know about people like her.
For someone who doesn’t suffer from a chronic skin disease it’s hard sometimes not to stare at your friend when she’s exhibiting some painfully obvious red spots on her legs and arms. But remind yourself that as much as possible these people do not want their condition to be noticed by anyone. Eczema can be such a socially debilitating skin disease that people with this condition often stay indoors when they experience flare ups. So the best thing you can do for your friend or family member is not to stare when their eczema decides to flare up one day.
Let them stay indoors
When your friend does experience a flare up it’s very likely that she will decide to stay inside her apartment or house and not join you in that party your mutual friend has been planning for weeks. If this happens don’t tell her to stop worrying too much about what people think of her skin condition and just get out of the house. Eczema can be such a bummer to your confidence and though staying indoors won’t boost it nagging her to step outside won’t help either. Just let her be and explain to your mutual friend that she’s having a bad day but the moment she gets better she’ll be up and about once more.
If you’re the one with the party plans try reassuring your friend by telling her that you’ll be at her apartment the following day with some food and drinks from your party. If you think following this suggestion will just convince her more to live like a hermit, don’t worry. There are suggestions later in the article that could convince her not to hide whenever her eczema flares up, so keep reading.
Lend a helping hand
People with eczema can live normal lives despite their skin condition. It’s just that completing daily tasks require more effort compared to people without this condition. So as a friend, try helping your buddy with eczema with her chores and stuff and she’ll love you for it. People with eczema are advised to stay away from detergents and other harsh soaps so if you’re in her house try helping her wash the dishes or cleaning up her car.
It’s not contagious
One of the reasons why people with eczema prefer to stay indoors when their condition flares up is that other people think that their condition can be contagious. For those who are unaware, it may be frightening to stand aside someone with so many red blotches on her skin because those wounds do look like they can infect you. But the truth is eczema is not at all contagious. You won’t be able to contract this disease simply through skin contact nor will you get this if you share food with these individuals.
In fact, it could even be you who will infect these individuals because if their eczema flares up and they get an open wound they are more susceptible to getting an infection if those wounds are not treated right away. So reassure other people in your circle of friends and families that your best bud’s condition is not contagious so that she won’t feel like a leper whenever she decides to step out of the house while her eczema is acting up.
Ixnay on the PDA
Okay, perhaps you may have convinced your friend to step out of her shell and mingle with other people once more but one mishap and she might retreat back into her apartment for days again. It could be because she doesn’t want her eczema to be triggered and one way to trigger that that could also convince her to think that mingling with other people is too risky is when someone touches her skin. Our skin produces lots of oils and acids that can be harmful to a person with eczema.
If your friend is out and about chances are your mutual friends might want to shake her hand, hold her arms or even touch her face and these things can easily trigger her eczema and when that happens she’ll be slinking back into her shell as quickly as she came out of it. So inform your other friends to be careful when they’re around your friend with eczema. Also, ask your friend with eczema what’s the safest way to interact with her without triggering her condition. That way she can still enjoy the company of other people without accidentally triggering her eczema.
Don’t tell her to stop scratching
Another thing to remind yourself and your other friends is that eczema can be extremely itchy. This skin condition can feel like a thousand ants crawling up and down your body, biting everywhere so the urge to scratch your skin is overwhelming and the last thing a person with eczema wants to hear is, "Don’t scratch that or you’ll only make it worse."
Let her be when she starts scratching her arms or her legs. It’s a swift and fleeting respite that she needs every now and then, and she’ll thank you for not nagging her not to do it. Living with eczema can be difficult but with your help your friend can overcome it with lesser hurdles and more support from the people she loves.