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How can I find eczema triggers outdoors?

Find out what could be triggering your child's eczema while your child's outdoors.

Match the possible trigger on the chart below and learn what you can do to help treat flares and avoid outdoor triggers.

toddlers in city park
Possible triggerCould be a trigger if... What you can do
Cold temperature, windsYour child's skin feels drier in winter or cracks and bleeds.Winter skin care for eczema
Dry airYour child's eczema flares during the winter or you live in a dry climate.Winter skin care for eczema
Heat, humidityYour child's eczema flares when the weather is hot and humid.Sweating and overheating are common eczema triggers. You can reduce the likelihood that your child will sweat by:
  • Dressing your child in loose-fitting cotton clothing. On cool days, you can layer clothes and remove a layer if your child seems warm.
  • Taking frequent activity breaks when it's hot and/or humid.
  • On hot days, dressing your child in a wet t-shirt soaked in cool water can help.
Pollen, moldYou check the pollen and mold counts and notice that your child's eczema flares when counts rise.If you find that your child's eczema flares when pollen or mold counts are high, try to reduce the amount of pollen or mold that enters your home. Keep doors and windows shut. Use air-conditioning when possible. Limit time outdoors when the count is high.

Keep your child off the lawn for 2 hours after it's been mowed.

PollutionYour child's eczema flares when the Air Quality Index (AQI) rises.If your child's eczema flares when the AQI rises, limit time outdoors on those days. You can also shut windows and doors at home when the AQI rises above 100.
SunburnYour child gets a sunburn.
  • Protect your child's skin from the sun by seeking shade, and using hoods on strollers and carriages.
  • For children 6 months of age and older, apply sunscreen. To prevent a flare due to sunscreen, use sunscreen that contains only these active ingredients: titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide. The sunscreen should also be fragrance-free, offer broad-spectrum protection, and have an SPF of 30.

Related AAD resources

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Sidbury R, Tom WL, et al. “Part 4: Guidelines of Care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Dec;71(6):1218-33.