Guest Post by Osama from Relmentor
A skin allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to something that is normally harmless, causing the skin to become irritated. Rashes, itching, burning, redness, bumps, hives, and swelling are all symptoms of an allergic reaction. A reaction may be triggered by a variety of allergens. Some of the most common allergic skin conditions are listed below:
Different Types of Skin Allergies
Also known as atopic dermatitis is a skin condition in which the skin becomes easily irritated, itchy, and dry. It is the most common allergic skin disease, with children being more affected than adults. Eczema is caused by a combination of genetic (passed down by parents) and environmental factors. Asthma, food allergies, and seasonal allergies are also related to it. Some foods, stress, soaps and lotions, and cold and dry air can all trigger eczema flare-ups.
Eczema is characterised by an itchy, scaly, red, dry rash that affects the face, hands, elbows, and knees in particular. Eczema may also produce a transparent fluid.
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when something comes into contact with the skin and causes an allergic reaction. Some people are allergic to the metal nickel, for example, and will experience a skin reaction if nickel jewellery comes into contact with their skin. Another example is a poison ivy reaction. Many people are allergic to the oil produced by poison ivy and poison oak plants.
Allergic contact dermatitis is characterised by a rash that is itchy but also painful. Raised bumps and blisters can appear on the rash. The reaction may occur immediately or up to 48 hours after your skin has been exposed to the substance that is causing it to respond.
Hives, also known as urticaria (ur-ti-kair-ee-uh), are raised bumps on the skin caused by an allergic reaction. Wheals or welts are other names for these bumps. A person’s hives can appear after consuming a food to which they are allergic. The bumps are caused by histamine, which is released by the body in reaction to the allergen. Hives may be caused by something other than allergies, such as a bug bite.
Hives are itchy, raised, flat bumps that can be tender. Hives are a symptom of an allergic reaction that may be life-threatening.
Angioedema (an-jee-oh-i-dee-muh) is a form of skin swelling. It commonly affects the eyelids, lips, and throat, and is often associated with hives.
Angioedema is a swollen condition. Angioedema on the eyelid, for example, may cause the eye to swell shut. It’s an emergency when it occurs in the throat because the swelling makes it difficult to breathe.
When Do You Need to See a Doctor?
Hives and angioedema may indicate a severe allergic reaction. If you find yourself in the following situations, dial 911 or head to the nearest emergency room:
- Your body is covered with hives.
- You’re having difficulties breathing.
- If you have any of the following signs, you should see a doctor:
- You need assistance in managing your eczema symptoms.
- Your rash seems to be infected and is bleeding or has yellowish pus.
- You believe you have an allergy to something you didn’t have before.
- You have a rash on your skin that won’t go away after 2 to 3 weeks.
Tests and Diagnosis
Your doctor can use the following methods to diagnose a skin allergy:
- Inquire about your skin, the signs you’re experiencing, and when they occur.
- Take a look at your skin. To check for signs of an allergy, the doctor can examine your eyes, nose, neck, and chest.
Allergy testing is recommended:
- Prick test on the skin. If the doctor thinks you are allergic to something, he or she will apply a small amount to your skin and gently itch it. If your body responds to it, a rash, redness, and scratching will normally appear within 15 minutes. A hive may also be visible. This could indicate an allergic reaction, particularly if the hive is big. Things that aren’t allergic to your skin will irritate it, so the skin prick test is only one piece of knowledge for you and your doctor. And if your skin reacts, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an allergy.
- Intradermal (under the skin) skin exam. This procedure is used if the skin prick didn’t cause a reaction, but the doctor still thinks you have an allergy. A doctor or nurse injects a small amount of the allergen into your skin and waits a certain amount of time to see how you respond.
- Tests on the blood (specific IgE). The doctor takes a blood sample and sends it to the laboratory. The lab will inject the potential allergen into your blood and look for IgE, an antibody that your body produces to combat allergens. Unfortunately, this test is not always accurate, since it often indicates the presence of an allergy when none exists. This is referred to as a “false positive.”
- This is a challenge test. You inhale or eat a small amount of allergen when at the doctor’s office so the doctor can see how you respond. The doctor is there to keep an eye on you and assist you if you have a life-threatening reaction. This test is used to see whether you have an allergy to food or medication.
- Test a patch. This examination determines whether or not you have allergic contact dermatitis. The doctor applies a small amount of allergen to your skin, wraps it in a bandage, and leaves it for two to four days. The doctor looks for signs of a reaction, which generally manifests itself as a rash under the bandage.
Skin allergy treatment varies depending on the condition and the allergen, but it typically involves one of two approaches:
- If an allergen is known, avoid it.
- To relieve itching, swelling, or pain, use medications, creams, and other methods.
The following are some treatment suggestions for each form of allergic skin reaction:
- Use an ointment or lotion with no alcohol, scent, or dye to moisturise the skin several times a day. When your skin is still moist from a bath, apply this lotion or ointment.
- Wool and lanolin should not be applied to the skin. Some skin care products contain lanolin.
- Use shampoos and soaps that are soft on the skin.
- Quick baths or showers are recommended, and the water should not be too hot. Water that is lukewarm is gentler on the skin.
The only way to stop allergic skin reactions is to figure out which allergen is causing them and avoid the allergen. Consider possible allergens such as soap, shower gels, hair care, perfume, lotions, and deodorants that come into contact with the skin. Allergies to foods and medicines, especially hives and swelling, may occur.