09 Dec Skin Allergies
Skin allergies can cause discomfort and affect your overall health if the symptoms are not addressed. It’s important to understand the different types of skin allergies and see an allergy specialist to relieve your symptoms.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our use of hand sanitizers and face masks have become a part of our everyday life. However, sometimes the use of these items or certain lotions and cosmetic creams can cause a skin reaction, called contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that causes a red, itchy rash on the area that has come in contact with the allergen. Signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- A red rash
- Itching, which may be severe
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin
- Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing and crusting
- Swelling, burning, or tenderness
Although skin allergies caused by contact dermatitis is not life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable for a person suffering from the condition. After an allergist has identified the cause of the reaction, avoidance of the allergen is key to reducing symptoms. Topical creams and other medications may also be used in combination with avoidance of the allergen to relieve the skin allergy.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a skin allergy condition that typically begins in early childhood and is not caused by external allergens on the skin. Eczema is caused by a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to provide protection from infection from outside bacteria. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- Dry skin
- Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
- Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis (eczema), symptoms can be managed with proper treatment by an allergist. Treatment can include avoidance of any triggering allergens to the condition but often must be used in combination with internal or external medications.
Urticaria and Angioedema
Urticaria (hives or welts) are red, itchy, raised areas of the skin that appear on any part of the body. They may occur with angioedema or swelling of the deeper layers of the skin. When these occur in less than 6 weeks, they can be a result of viral infections, drug, food, stinging insect, or contact with environmental allergies. When they repeatedly occur for more than 6 weeks, they can be related to physical triggers (such as heat, cold, pressure, or sunlight), autoimmune problems (such as thyroid disorder), or sometimes to unidentifiable causes.
Angioedema that does not occur with urticaria is usually non-allergic in nature. It can be due to medication use (most commonly involved are the angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitor medications for blood pressure), or to a familial condition called hereditary angioedema, or may be acquired secondary to underlying blood disorders.
Common treatments include topical creams and antihistamines, but more advanced treatments may be recommended, such as immunosuppressive drugs or omalizumab, a medication originally designed to reduce sensitivity to allergens.
Treatment for Skin Allergies
The board-certified allergists at McGovern Allergy & Asthma Clinic can identify the cause of your skin allergies and provide a customized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms for healthy, beautiful skin!
Call 713-661-1444 to schedule an appointment or click the link to request one online. https://www.mcgovernallergy.com/request-an-appointment-online/