Ditch That Itch

There are things that come in the most unexpected times like skin allergy. Getting a skin allergy makes us suffer from itchiness, redness and swollen skin. Ignoring these symptoms can worsen the condition. While skin allergies may be unavoidable, learning its types and cures will help us ditch the itch.

Types of skin allergies

  1. Atopic dermatitis. Commonly known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is an allergic reaction often affects the face, elbows and knees. This condition is seen mostly among children. It also affects those people with history of allergy and asthma since eczema is often linked to these conditions. The symptoms include red, scaly, itchy rash. Common triggers are house dust, sweat, and harsh soap. However, emotional stress, skin infections and certain food can also prompt development of eczema. Nonetheless, the itch of eczema is not related to histamine so taking anti-histamines will not relieve the itch.

Management and treatment: Prevent flare up is the ultimate goal of the treatment. It can also be managed at home by changing laundry detergents or soaps that may cause irritation. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes.  Do not scratch the affected area. Cold compress helps in relieving the itch. Medication such as anti-inflammatory prescribed medicines, steroid creams can treat the rash. For severe condition, oral corticosteroids are usually prescribed.  Likewise, antibiotics may be prescribed to clear the affected irritation.

  1. Hives or urticaria – this skin allergy develops when the immune system releases histamine. It causes small blood vessels to leak that make the skin swell. There are two types of urticaria: acute and chronic.

Acute urticaria happens after a person eats a particular food that causes allergic reaction or coming in contact with a particular trigger.  It can also be triggered by non-allergic causes like heat, medication, exercise, prolonged pressure, direct sun exposure or insect bites. The common symptoms of this condition are redness, itchiness and swollen skin. It appears at various parts of the body but they disappear in a few days.

Meanwhile, chronic urticaria is rarely caused by specific triggers that can last for many months or years but they are not life-threatening. However, this condition makes one uncomfortable as it interferes with your daily activities including sleep. Swelling in deep layers of the skin known as angioedema is one of the symptoms of chronic urticaria.

Management and treatment: To manage hives, avoid hot water when bathing. Use lukewarm water instead. Use mild soap. Apply cold compress to affected areas. Wear loose-fitting clothes and as much as possible, work and sleep in a cool room.

To treat acute urticaria, identifying the cause and removing the trigger can cure this condition. Doctors will usually prescribe antihistamine to relieve the symptoms as well as to help prevent hives and associated swelling from forming.

For chronic urticaria, patients will be given antihistamines or a combination of medications. Oral corticosteroids will also be prescribed, if antihistamine cannot provide the relief.

  1. Contact dermatitis – the skin reacts when it comes in direct contact with an allergen that you are sensitive at. The rash is typically seen in the area of contact with offending material. Examples of contact dermatitis triggers are hair dyes, nickel, fragrances in most perfume, soaps and other skin products, latex rubber, among others. For instance, if you are allergic to nickel and you wear a jewelry made with the aforementioned metal material, you will develop symptoms that may irritate some parts of the body like earlobes, neck or wrist.

Management and treatment: For this case, treatments depend on severity. For mild cases like appearance of blisters, cold compress offers instant relief. Topical corticosteroid creams will also help in treating the condition. However, the best treatment is to prevent contact from offending material or substance.

For those suffering from skin allergies, these tips can alleviate your condition:

  1. Avoid scratching. Yes, allergies can be really itchy but do not complicate the condition. Scratching the rash can worsen the condition and cause skin infection.
  2. Avoid the known triggers. If you know you are allergic to certain substance or things, avoid using them.
  3. Use hypoallergenic skin products.
  4. Apply moisturizer to prevent skin dryness. Allergy reacts to dry skin because it gets more likely to inflame the skin.
  5. Take a bath daily. This activity will help wash off the allergens in your hair and skin.
  6. Keep your house clean. By maintaining your house clean, it will remove molds, dust and dust mites that cause skin allergies.
  7. Take antihistamine for sting and itch. If by chance you cannot avoid the trigger, take this medicine prior to exposure to prevent the condition to get worst.
  8. Always, consult a doctor or allergy expert when allergy develops. If symptoms get worst, seeing a doctor is the best option for treating the condition as well as helping in managing the condition.



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