Don’t go “wheels up” without reviewing our detailed plan for traveling with eczema.
Getting away is an exciting, welcomed break from the day-to-day. With the holidays just around the corner, travel of some kind lays ahead, whether it’s heading home or off to a sunny resort.
For people who live with eczema, preparing for travel means an entirely different level of organization, planning and calculation for even a simple trip. Getaways come with unfamiliar environments, foods and climates—and precautions must be taken to minimize eczema flares. CLn® Skin Care knows what it is like to travel with eczema, so we’ve assembled tips and a packing list to make trips less stressful for you.
Planning the Destination
Wherever you’re heading, consider the following before you even pack your bags.
Arid and cold weather can dry out the skin, causing flares or worsening of eczema symptoms. When facing a dry-out, pack heavier creams. To prep for cold weather destinations, visit our post on cold weather tips here.
Search for the nearest medical facility and pharmacy and bookmark them for peace of mind.
If certain foods are a trigger for you or your child, use proactive communication. Family members and even hotel restaurants are happy to make accommodations when health is at risk.
Ask anyone you are staying with–family members or the hotel staff–to avoid placing decorative pillows and quilts on beds if dust is a trigger. These items are not always washed frequently, and just a little dust can cause a big flare. Also, ask what detergent is used on sheets and towels. Fragrances, fabric softeners and harsh detergents can be a major irritant, and advanced planning is required to head off this potential trip destroyer.
A good planner prepares for the best and worst scenarios. In this case, the worst could be a lost checked bag. Double check the TSA guidelines before packing your bag and make sure you have all your eczema essentials in a carry-on, just in case.
If you don’t already own travel sizes of CLn BodyWash and CLn Gentle Shampoo, get some empty 3.0 oz bottles at the drugstore and fill them up before you fly! Mystery bar soap is no way to start a trip if you or your littles suffer from eczema.
Creams & RXs
Always keep doctor-prescribed creams and RXs at arm’s reach. Also, airplanes and car heat or A/C can be drying, so pack enough rich cream (in 3.0 oz tubes) to moisturize every few hours throughout the trip.
Change of Clothing
If bags are lost, a clean change of clothes (washed in the right detergent) can make life a lot easier, especially in the case of a spilled drink or layover. And don’t forget to dress in layers. Getting overheated or too cold can trigger eczema flares for many.
The Checked Bag
Traveling smart with eczema often means bringing a lot of extra gear with you. But a better experience is worth the effort. Add these items to your packing list…
The last thing you want to happen is to run out of the products that make your life easier. Better to have too much than too little. And remember to use CLn BodyWash in place of hotel soaps, unless you know the soap to be a formula that agrees with your skin.
If detergents are a trigger, pack two sets of sheets and two-to-four sets of towels. Sure, linens take up room in a suitcase, but at least you’ll feel a little more at home sleeping on your own sheets. Also, if you have young children with eczema, know that the new-ish muslin style baby blankets actually make amazing lightweight towels. They air-dry quickly and take up way less room in a suitcase than terrycloth towels.
Heavy Cardstock and Markers
Everyone loves a handwritten note. When staying in a hotel, place politely written notes reminding the staff not to disturb the towels and sheets you brought with you. All of your diligence can be undone if a dusty comforter is plopped on top of your precious home-laundered sheets.
All Creams and RXs
If you have creams and RXs that don’t meet TSA standards for your carry-on, pack them in your checked bag. If an arid or cold climate is part of the plan, bring heavy-duty products. And don’t forget to fill your doctor in on your travel plans. He or she might prescribe anti-itch creams, antihistamines, wet wraps, etc. if you have experienced severe flares during past travels.
Sunscreen Free of “Stinging” Ingredients
If you’re off to a sunny locale, don’t leave the sunscreen that works for you at home. Chemical sunscreens can contain Avobenzone, which is known to cause stinging. Your dermatologist can also recommend other ingredients to avoid in a sunscreen based on your triggers.
Following TSA’s guidelines, pack detergent that you can use to wash sheets, towels or even an emergency load of clothes—especially if traveling with kids. No one wants to do laundry on vacation, but a bad eczema flare can weep, kids can be messy, and clean linens are essential for healthy skin.
Eczema Management Plan
If grandparents or aunts and uncles are watching a child with eczema, put together a thorough management plan including when to use certain medications and what foods to avoid. Also note triggers such as environmental allergies, hot temperatures, etc.
After You Arrive
Long flights and car rides can be exhausting. But the last two steps are crucial to starting your trip off right.
Cleanse As Soon As Possible
After being in a crowded public place like an airport, it’s a good idea to cleanse. Use CLn BodyWash for a full two minutes, as it is designed to be tough on microbes, but gentle on skin. Then put on fresh clothes and settle into vacation mode.
Do a “Room Sweep”
Does Grandma have a bowl of dusty potpourri on the dresser? Move it to a high shelf. Does your hotel line the bathroom counter with heavily scented toiletries? Stick ‘em in a drawer. That plush but probably filthy bed cover? Yank it and leave a note saying not to replace it.
The Back Up Plan
Experiencing a flare despite your diligent packing and prep? Don’t hesitate to call your doc. Worst case, you may require antibiotics. Best case, you and your physician may get one step closer to identifying your worst triggers and what to do about them.
Traveling with eczema can be a challenge, but planning goes a long way in minimizing triggers. We hope this packing guide has helped you. We wish you healthy, comfortable journeys!