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Rashes brought on by contact with a specific item are known as Contact Dermatitis. This differs from Atopic dermatitis in that atopic skin rashes come and go without apparent cause. They are worse in cold, winter months and moisturizing may help but really has little long-term benefit. Atopic dermatitis is a hereditary condition and, while those who suffer from Atopic dermatitis may be prone to allergy related symptoms, Atopic dermatitis itself is not considered an allergic condition. Contact dermatitis, on the other hand, may be considered an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis is a rash brought on only where contact with the irritant is made. Common irritants are Poison Ivy and nickel. Nickel is often found in jewelry.
The best treatment for Contact dermatitis is avoidance of the offending irritant. If a rash does occur, treatment with 1% Hydrocortisone cream might help. Common causes of contact skin rash allergies are:
- Plants, i.e. Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, etc
- Metals, most often nickel, found in inexpensive jewelry
- Chemicals in household cleaning products
- Perfumes or fragrances
- Latex and rubber
The majority of skin related allergic reactions do not cause immune system response involving Immunoglobulin E (IgE). Generally cells in the immediate area of contact are inflamed causing only a minimal and limited reaction. There are, however, some reactions, which do trigger IgE and cause a reaction throughout the body.
Rashes from contact allergies can consist of swelling, itching, hives, burning, redness, blistering or a combination of the above. Hives are generally attributed to food or medication reactions. Contact reactions are generally more limited to the burning, itching, redness and swelling. Symptomatic treatment of contact related skin allergies includes:
- Washing the affected area with a gentle cleanser and patting dry, using lukewarm or cool water.
- Bathing in cool water.
- Calamine lotion may ease irritation.
- Adding ½ to 1 cup of oatmeal to your bath water can be soothing. Aveeno makes a product using natural colloidal oatmeal, intended to be added to the bath for a soothing affect.
- Anti-itch lotions or 1% Hydrocortisone cream can alleviate symptoms.
Drug allergy rashes generally present in the form of small, pinhead size, red spots that are similar to a Measles rash. This rash is generally present on the arms, legs and trunk. It is often itchy and generally occurs several days after the drug is ingested. Treatment includes discontinuation of the medication and administration of an antihistamine medication such as Benadryl. Avoidance of the offending drug is recommended thereafter. Pain medications and antibiotics are commonly associated with medication allergic skin rashes. If a rash develops it is best to consult a doctor to document the medication and the reaction. This helps to avoid further problems with medications that may have a similar chemical make-up to the allergenic medication.
Skin related allergies are generally easier to avoid than other allergies as they are most often contact related and simple avoidance of the offending allergen will prevent symptoms. There can be serious consequences related to skin allergies therefore they should not be taken lightly.
Disclaimer: The allergy information on this website is strictly general information and should not be taken as official advice. Please schedule an appointment with an allergy doctor in order to get a proper and full allergy diagnosis.
This article was developed by Utah Allergy Associates of Utah and Adaptivity Pro SEO Services