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Wondering how many…

Just wondering and thought I would ask if eczema and asthma are related in any way? I have had a very stressful week at work ( really bad) and I started a flare of eczema on my arms at the same time I started having trouble with my breathing. (I was diagnosed with both not too long ago). I am not doing anything different, so i am thinking it is stress causing the flare of both. I am just wondering if either conditions are something that usually shows up together? Sorry if this is a strange question…

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  • K8sMom2002

    It is NOT a strange question. My daughter has eczema and asthma. Her eczema has improved drastically as she's gotten older, as has her asthma. But I have heard of many other members who have both.

    , according to this AAFA blog post.

    What strategies help your eczema?

  • LK

    I have asthma and GERD.  For me the GERD is a trigger for my asthma and vice versa.  Stress definitely is a trigger for my asthma.  I take an  Rx for my GERD in addition to my other asthma meds.  Can tell if I forget to take it! 

  • Dar007

    @K8sMom2002 well, my family doctor diagnosed the eczema and gave me a huge tube of some kind of steroid ointment to try. That was several years ago before I my asthma was diagnosed. So I have to make an appointment to see my new family doctor about it. I see the tube I have expired in 2015. It isn bad eczema. Just a few patches around my ankles and both upper arms. It is so itchy though! I should make an appointment soon…just a crazy time for me work wise. 

    But yeah, it gets worse as an asthma episode is around the corner, and whenever i am highly stressed. I am off this weekend and thought I could get some  skiing in, but it is raining here and we lost all our snow! 

  • K8sMom2002

    @Dar007, sounds like you have switched doctors since then? Good for you for checking the expiration date!

    Have you tried soak and seal or wet wraps for your eczema? AAFA has a list of , and some of the links tell you how to do those two methods. I know on the KFA (Kids with Food Allergies, AAFA's food allergy division) community, lots of moms have had success with wet wraps and soak and seal. 

    @LK, I have definitely heard many of our members talk about GERD and the impact it has on their asthma. And I can well imagine stress can make both asthma and GERD worse. 

  • tlb2002

    @Dar007, between my husband, my son and me, we manage asthma, eczema, food allergies, and environmental and seasonal allergies. I have noticed our asthma, eczema and allergies can all flare at the same time on occasion. For example, when pollen is high and my son starts to have sinus and asthma issues, his eczema will flare too. 

    As for stress, it most definitely triggers asthma and eczema flares for my husband and me. In fact, I can often tell when my husband is stressed by how his eczema is flaring and how often he is applying his steroid creams.

    I hope you are able to get a doctor's appointment and that it goes well!

  • Dar007

    @tlb2002 Ok so that makes total sense! Thank you for the info. I just am noticing when one starts, I can usually count on the other to give me trouble. And I also noticed when I get stressed at work, it coincides with the worsening of everything. I just don't know how to manage the stress I have at work because it is a very stressful department to work in. Maybe I should start something relaxing …like yoga! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs … Self-care can be really helpful for anyone who manages a chronic condition and to help with stress. What things do you do for yourself or with your family when you're stressed? 

  • tlb2002

    @Dar007, Hugs on the work stress. If you try yoga, let us know how it helps you. I just started yoga a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. I got off track during the holidays but hope to start back next week.

    Oddly enough, asthma has actually helped me handle stress better. I never noticed how stress affected me physically until I was diagnosed with asthma and realized it was one of my triggers. Once I learned that, I started recognizing signs of stress before it caused asthma symptoms. Now, when I feel stress coming on, I stop, work to manage the stress and pay better attention to my breathing so I can treat symptoms early if they come on. 

    Good luck finding something that works for you! 

  • Katie D

    Bummer on the snow loss @Dar007 - I think there are some folks that would surely be happy with no snow and give you theirs – if only it was that easy!  Hopefully you can use the time to find something else that will make you relax this weekend instead.  

    Stress is my biggest trigger for eczema – and then on top of the colder weather it can get bad.  When I had a really stressful job, working insane hours, my hands were an absolute mess.  To the point where I had to wear gloves in public and in the workplace.  Running was always my stress reliever but there was only so much running I could do – and I hate the treadmill, so when we had snow ON the ground I wasn't running much.  I also got into journaling which helped a lot as well, then I learned how to knit which was a lot of fun and relaxing (once I got the hang of it!) 

    When I start to get stressed these days I notice my eczema will start to flare again and I take a look and it's like Tanya said about her asthma, the eczema almost is a sign to me that I need to step back, reevaluate and manage my stress better.  

    Hope you have a good weekend!

  • Shea

    I am with you on the complexity of managing stress. Stress is such a blanket term… When I was younger I had ulcerative colitis and I remember my doctors and my parents asking if I was stressed–and I was like… I dont think so, I dont know. Truth was–I didnt know how to check in with myself and notice how I was feeling about stuff, how I was holding my body, how food was sitting in my stomach–turns out I was very stressed, but had developed a methid of ignoring my stress, discomfort, and I became mostly focused on pleasing others because that was a temporary way of lowering stress but actually just made all my problems much worse. Now… Finally… 32 years old, 5 years after hitting disability after a heart attack from a chronic allergic disease took me outta my former life– I finally learned enough about what causes that kinda stess–both the kind I experienced back in high school, and the kind I experienced just prior to the crises that led to the disability… and I am actually handling it much Better at least, lol. One thing was learning about my allergies and intolerances to foods and environmentals.. And how to stay hydrated (I am very prone to dehydration after the intestinal surgery). Basically learning how to eat and drink–which was complex for me (I gained food allergies after the intestinal surgery to apples, grapes, peaches, pears, plums–all of a sudden hthriwing up and hives and anaphlaxis to foods that I used to eat a lot–consequently I have learned a lot of them now are foods that have high pesticide use and/or cause oral allergy syndrome in many people with environmental allergies and cross-react with a lot of seasonal environmentals allergies to pollens and weeds– but they have turned into full-blown allergies for me). Not drinking alcohol, not smoking (those things I did in early college to cope with life because I was stressed then bigtime and still running from myself during that time, as well as running with a wrong crowd). In teenage years, it was puberty/hormones, an overactive schedule, lack of sleep, and me being unaware of foods that were causing me problems that was driving stress that led to major intestinal disease. When I developed my rare chronuc allergic disease (Churg-Strauss Syndrone during pregnancy it was all that, plus not having alcohol or cigarettes to cope with it, plus being on bad medications and not having the right doctors, plus intense allergen exposure (living with cats and dogs when I was allergic and my former medication stopped working right), plus a bad personal relationship with a partner who was less empathetic to me than I was myself, that pushed my body and stress over the limit. So I was blinded to my feelings and health because I was so used to ignoring them, I didnt understand them, nobody was helping me manage things, and I was around a lot of things and people that were making it worse. I was so in pain and used to it that it was hard to turn that around. Still is.. Im still turning the tides. Making real changes step by step to get myself back. After the diagnosis, I moved into an allergen-free home (no cats, dogs, furry creatures) and followed all the advice on covering the bed and washing sheets in hot water weekly and purifying air with HEPAs (lowers dust, mold, environmentals), getting the right specialists (allergist/rheumatologist, cardiologist and good primary), journalling about medications and their effects on me (lots of steroid asthma inhalers give me rashes, except for budesonide in nebulizer), being on here to learn about triggers ( for asthma, excema, vasculitus, and even organ damage), and eating a low-inflammation diet, all part of managing my disease… avoiding allergens has been extremely helpful. It took me not working, fighting for disability, and living by myself (with my son) to be able to do this–otherwise I would have been too over-stressed still and my living situation would have prevented me from getting better. But I know that disability is not an option for most people( it was hard for me to get and took a long time and lots of parental help during that time). Working ir not, somehow–you gotta be able to hear your voice, and be on a continuous learning path of identifying triggers–allergens, irritants (often chemical/cleaning/smoke), intolerances, inflammation-producing foods, getting ill/viruses/bacterial infections, side effects of meds… and then to be proactive in developing an action plan for what to do when things get inflamed/flared-up) to get back on track. …And doing all that without letting it overwhelm you completely… That takes time and patience. But it has helped both me and my son–he has mild excema and food allergies and dander allergies but it is so well-managed for him (because of the work I do on keeping good indoir air quality, and working with him and his allergist to find foods that agree with him), that he is healthy and does not have asthma at all and rarely has allergic flare ups or bad excema). My son's skin has been a little worse with drier cooler air–so I think more oily foods, extra hydration (he likes Vita-Coco coconut water), and lotions after baths during this time of year would be good–Im considering getting a humidifier too for this time of year–maybe next check. This was a novel–Im sorry if it was too long!!! I gotta run, but I hope its helpful info on here!!

  • Katie D

    Shea, thank you for sharing your journey.  It sounds like you are in a good place and your son is lucky to have you caring for him.  

    I find it can often be hard to not feel guilty about caring for ourselves, but it is so important.  I am a giver as well and if I overstretch myself then I start to feel "off" – my eczema flare-ups, I race around doing too much, don't eat well, forget to hydrate, and just overall "don't feel great."  Those are the times like you said where you have to check-in and work actively on getting yourself back on track.

  • K8sMom2002

    Katie, such a good point! I tend to be hyperfocused on getting things done for other people, but if I don't take care of myself, I won't be able to take care of everyone else, right?

    Some years back I was part of a class that talked about how people had stress settings that were like a ball in a clear tube, with the ball bouncing ever higher with each stressful incident. 

    If our baseline setting for stress is the ball halfway up the tube, it doesn't take much to top us out, right? So like @Shea points out, we have to be in tune with our body and know what our normal stress level is, and then work to reduce that. My goal is to be a chill person who doesn't get caught off guard by anything, to just roll with the punches. 

    My DH says I'll never get there!