Allergies come in many different forms, ranging from mild reactions treatable with some quick over-the-counter medications, to others that can be severe and even lethal. While the worst case scenario is scary, there are ways to monitor and prevent potentially life-threatening reactions. Most commonly, you'll be facing much lighter, more treatable allergens. These can often be painful to deal with but won't necessarily result in risking your life.
Not only are allergy conditions uncomfortable, but they can also be annoying and embarrassing. Skin allergy conditions are one of the most commonly recognized forms of allergies simply because they're often the most visible. Fortunately, a lot of these allergy conditions are treatable, meaning you can go back to enjoying your day to day life without feeling embarrassed by your allergies. Take back control of your life when you recognize and understand the following skin allergy conditions and how to potentially treat them.
URTICARIA (COMMONLY KNOWN AS HIVES)
Urticaria (hives) are recognized by inflammation of the skin, commonly triggered when your immune system releases histamine throughout your body. Often, this can be caused by food allergies, insect bites, or even medication. When histamine is released, it causes the swelling that you can physically see. This is a result of your small blood vessels leaking as a reaction. As scary as it sounds, it's usually easily treatable. Depending on how severe your reaction is, your doctor can prescribe antihistamines to relieve your symptoms.
- Insect stings or bites
- The Common Cold
While there are numerous variations of hives and what causes them, most are easily treatable with antihistamines. It's important to recognize different levels of severity when it comes to urticaria. Some forms may be more dangerous and can cause permanent damage, while others will go away quickly.
Chronic urticaria can last more than six months and may be associated with an immune reaction that's hard to identify. Physical urticaria is more common and is typically a result of rubbing or scratching and may only last for a few days.
When your skin comes in contact with certain substances, your skin may form a rash in reaction
. This is known as contact dermatitis. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic, and they can be determined with quick testing. Irritant contact dermatitis is typically more painful and may last longer. It's caused when a substance comes in contact with your skin and causes damage. As it is often found on hands, wearing gloves is a common suggestion to help avoid future irritation.
Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a chemical reaction to a substance. It's commonly a reaction to touching plants like poison ivy, which can last 14+ days if not treated. Depending on the severity of your reaction, this can be treated with topical corticosteroid creams or oral prednisone.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin allergy condition that mainly affects your scalp and often causes scaly patches as well as dandruff. The condition can also affect your face, nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, and other oily areas of the body. This skin allergy condition is usually less severe compared to others and can typically be treated without seeking out a specialist. However, if you suspect any form of infection or you've tried to self-treat it without success, making an appointment with your doctor is suggested.
While it is common to feel a sense of itchiness with seborrheic dermatitis, you can remove dead skin with gentle soaps and shampoos, which can help treat it. This may also help balance oiliness and reduce flaky patches.
Commonly occurring with hives, but not always, angioedema is swelling that affects deeper layers of skin. It typically doesn't showcase in a physical way like hives do. Unlike hives, it doesn't usually appear via red splotches or come with itchy reactions, but it can be found in soft tissues such as your lips, eyelids, tongue, genitals, and more. Angioedema is normally viewed as an 'acute' condition and is typically brief compared to other skin allergy conditions, often only lasting a few minutes to a few hours.
Causes for angioedema can come from cold, heat, exercise, pressure, and exposure to sunlight as well as foods and medications. While treatments vary depending on severity, most often your doctor will prescribe a combination of antihistamines and corticosteroids.
TYPES OF ANGIOEDEMA
In addition to your everyday angioedema skin condition, you may also have a reaction to hereditary angioedema (HAE) or chronic recurrent angioedema. Hereditary angioedema (HAE)
is a rare, more severe form of angioedema and is not treatable with antihistamines or adrenaline. It can impact the intestinal wall and airways and should be treated by a specialist/allergist.
Chronic recurrent angioedema returns over a long period of time and may not have an identifiable cause. It's most similar to common angioedema and can be treatable with antihistamines. However, that form of treatment may not always work. The best and most efficient way to treat chronic recurrent angioedema is to meet with an allergist that specializes in it and discuss the treatments that work best for your specific case.
For more information regarding skin allergy conditions and how to best treat them, contact us
today. We'll pair you with one of our specialists to help evaluate your condition and offer advice on how to potentially treat it. You can also read more on our blog
to learn about other allergy conditions and how they can impact your daily life, as well as get a better understanding of when you should make an appointment with your doctor.
At Allergy and Asthma Care of Waco, our goal is to bring you factual information that will help you enjoy your quality of life. We want you to have real solutions to real issues and go home happier and healthier.