5 Christmas Habits That Can Exacerbate Flare-Ups

Christmas ball

Every nation that celebrates Christmas has its own habits. Swedes have the Gävle Goat. Colombians have the Day of the Little Candles. South Africans have braaing.

Australians have their own wonderful Christmas habits but some of them could exacerbate eczema flare-ups.

We’ve highlighted five of these habits, from eating prawns to putting up Christmas trees.

Eating prawns

Prawns are one of the traditions of an Australian Christmas. Aussies love eating prawns during the holiday season, with the prawn run being a notable Christmas day activity. But eating prawns can exacerbate eczema flare-ups.

Prawns are part of the crustacea group of shellfish. Crustacea are responsible for most allergic reactions that come as a result of eating shellfish, one of which is eczema — shellfish is one of the common types of food that can cause eczema.

Unfortunately, if you have a seafood allergy then the only thing you can do to ensure prawns don’t lead you to have an eczema flare-up is to avoid eating them.

Street parties

Street parties are popular at Christmas time in Australia. The warm weather makes it perfect for outdoor gatherings, meaning that many people come together outside for a party. But street parties could be stressful for some people and this might lead to an eczema flare-up.

Stress is one of the key triggers for eczema, particularly dyshidrotic eczema. When the body is stressed it releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can impact your immune system and cause an inflammatory response in your skin, leading to an eczema flare-up.

If you’d like to attend a street party this Christmas but are concerned about it being too stressful then you can seek help. The Queensland Government has a range of mental health and wellbeing resources on its website. These resources include tips and tactics for managing mental health issues, including stress.

Potato bakes

Potato bakes are one of the ten most iconic Aussie Christmas foods. It’s a delicious side dish that features breadcrumbs, cream, cheese, butter and (of course!) potatoes. It’s also a dish that could result in an eczema flare-up.

Potato bakes cause eczema flare-ups if people have an allergic reaction to potatoes. This allergic reaction can be due to any one of a number of substances, such as patatin or solanine. This allergy has a range of symptoms, one of which is an eczema flare-up.

It’s rare for people to be allergic to potatoes and some of the allergens lose their potential to cause harm once they’re cooked. However, if you have a severe allergic reaction to this vegetable then you’ll have to say no to a potato bake at Christmas, as it might cause you to have an eczema flare-up.

The Sun

Unlike places like Canada, England and the USA, Christmas is a summer event in Australia. This means Santa visits when the sun is hot. A scorching sun might be nice for Santa but it could be a problem for people with eczema, as it could result in them experiencing flare-ups.

Sunlight can be an issue for people with eczema, particularly if they have photosensitive eczema, a rare type of the condition that’s caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. Sunscreen is the thing that can really be an issue for people with eczema, as it could cause irritant contact dermatitis — one of the common dry skin conditions that afflict people with eczema.

If you have eczema and don’t want to miss being out in the sun this Christmas then you can try a mineral-based sunscreen. It’s believed that these types of sunscreen are less irritable to the skin than chemical-based alternatives.

Christmas tree

Pretty much wherever you are in the world, you can almost certainly guarantee that having a Christmas tree is a key festive tradition. It’s absolutely the case in Australia but having a Christmas tree might be an issue for people with eczema, as it may exacerbate a flare-up.

There are a number of reasons Christmas trees can be problematic for people with eczema. These reasons include its natural oils, mould build-ups and pollen. The needles on the Christmas tree could also exacerbate flare-ups, as they might aggravate inflamed skin.

You can avoid having your eczema affected by your Christmas tree by using a plastic one. This will mean you won’t be exposed to the things a real tree contains that could trigger an outbreak or exacerbate a flare-up.

Eating prawns, street parties, potato bakes, the sun and Christmas trees are Christmas habits enjoyed by many Australians. Unfortunately, if you have eczema then any or all of these things could exacerbate a flare-up.

If you think your eczema could be made worse by any or all of the five things we’ve highlighted then follow our advice, so you can avoid them or find suitable solutions.