Managing Social Expectations When You Have Eczema.

Managing Social Expectations When You Have Eczema.

Jennie Lyon

Managing Social Expectations When You Have Eczema.

Holidays and celebrations are meant to be a joyful and carefree festivities this time of year, however, when you suffer from eczema it’s not always fun and games. The people around you probably won’t understand the challenges social engagements pose for you. Often, without meaning to, our friends and family can put us in awkward situations where we are met head on with potential eczema irritants and, in the moment, it can be uncomfortable to explain your sensitivity to your hosts.

Our advice is to always prepare in advance by informing your host and fellow guests about your condition. Here are some examples.

Physical Contact

Physical contact can present a lot of challenges for people with sensitive skin. Hugging and kissing are signs of affection, but what if the person you or your child is greeting is wearing makeup, perfumes and colognes, or scratchy clothing? What if dear grandpa has an itchy beard? Then there’s the dreaded cheek-pinching and face touching that isn’t always limited to babies, and even a handshake can present problems for many eczema sufferers.

What most people don’t understand is that something as simple as basic human contact can aggravate the skin and trigger an eczema flare. This is something that you will need to explain. If you or your child have sensitive skin, it’s important to be in contact with your host, friends, and family in advance to make them aware of your susceptibility to irritation.

It’s always easier to communicate your sensitivities before you arrive to the social engagement. Then, upon arrival, you can remind people again by thanking them for understanding the sensitive skin situation. This is a great way to remind people again straight away -- before they dive in for a fragrant kiss -- just in case they may have forgotten.

Food Allergies

Nowadays, our society is becoming more attuned to the many diverse dietary requirements that are much more prevalent. The stigma around food allergies is disappearing which can certainly make it easier to open up the conversation with your host about food sensitivities, but food allergies can still be a challenge. It’s always better to be in touch with your host in advance to inform them about food allergies and to provide detail about the risk of cross contamination for severe allergies.

When visiting someone’s home, it’s always a good idea to offer to bring a food item (or two) of your own to ensure that you or your child will have something safe to enjoy. While most hosts are very conscientious, mistakes can happen or they might forget with all of the commotion of hosting a party, and cross contamination can be an issue. Having your own food and treats is always a safe bet.

If you’re eating out at a restaurant, be proactive and choose a restaurant that you know can work for you or your child. If you’re unfamiliar with the restaurant, contact them in advance to notify them of the allergy. Always remind the wait staff about the allergies at the time of ordering.

Everyone loves a good party… or at least everyone should be able to enjoy a good party. When you suffer from eczema and allergies, the key to being able to enjoy yourself is to prepare in advance. By informing the people in your life about your sensitivities, you equip them with the knowledge they need in order to be able to interact with you. Anyone who truly cares about you will gladly adjust to make sure that you and your child are as comfortable as possible. Manage social expectations in advance, and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself now and for years to come.