Sometimes you wear your allergies on your sleeve, or at least under it if you suffer from skin allergies. These allergies, while usually not life-threatening, can be very uncomfortable. There are four types of skin allergies recognized by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:
- Common allergens (pollen, animal dander, latex, insect stings)
- Environmental factors (heat, cold, sunlight, emotional stress)
- Underlying medical conditions
2. Angioedema is similar to hives, but affects deeper levels of skin. It can be life-threatening when occurring in the throat or on the tongue because it may hinder breathing.
3. Contact dermatitis: This reaction occurs when an allergen comes into contact with your skin. It appears as a red, itchy rash and can be quite uncomfortable. According to WebMD, the following are the most common causes of contact dermatitis:
- Nickel (a metal used in jewelry and snaps on jeans, makeup, lotions, soaps, shampoos)
- Sunscreens and bug sprays
- Medications you put on your skin (antibiotics, anti-itch creams)
- Cleaning products
- Latex (plastic gloves, elastic in clothing, condoms, balloons)
4. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, manifests as itchy, red and dry skin. It affects people of all ages, but usually begins in early childhood. Eczema is not actually caused by the body’s release of histamines as in most allergic reactions. In fact the exact cause is unknown, but there is a proven link between seasonal allergies and eczema.
There are few things you can do to self-treat skin allergies, and in most cases, the reaction will go away on its own. Treatments include:
- Soaking the irritated area
- Using a cold compress
- Applying anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone
- Taking an antihistamine
The problem is that when you are re-exposed to the allergen, the reaction comes back.
The best thing to do is to avoid the allergen completely, but you can’t do that until you know exactly what it is. Even then, completely avoiding it may not be realistic.
However, if you suffer from skin allergies, our expert physicians at our sister office Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat can help. When you come in for an appointment, our doctors will take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly discuss your symptoms. They will then do a very thorough skin test to determine what exactly you’re allergic to. Next they will discuss all possible treatment options and put you on an individualized treatment plan that is sure to make your life much more comfortable.
Call (888) 230-3715 today to schedule your appointment at one of Westwood’s three conveniently- located offices, and say goodbye to your irritation — skin and otherwise.