Irritated skin is one of the most common types of allergies treated and managed by allergists/immunologists. An allergic skin condition occurs when an allergen is responsible for triggering an immune system response. There are a variety of allergic skin conditions including eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic contact dermatitis, hives (urticaria), and angioedema.
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema is characterized by itchy, dry skin on the face and wrists, behind the knees and ears, and at the bends of the elbow joint. Often associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergies, eczema affects both children and adults. The rash is caused by scratching, so it’s very important to avoid scratching the area. If there is an infection, the rash will usually weep fluid that crusts over. If you are suffering from these symptoms, Dr. Brauer can diagnose and determine the best treatment plan to soothe your eczema, and will work closely with your dermatologist. Often, dry skin if addressed can prevent eczema flare-ups. We often have samples of various moisturizers available for you to try before you buy. Ask us about them when you come in!
Note from Dr. Brauer
I suspect it’s due to our outdoor lifestyles and all the deer hunters we have here in Western Kentucky, but we’re seeing quite a lot of cases of alpha-gal sensitivity. Alpha-gal sensitivity is the delayed reaction to beef, pork, or other mammalian meat and sometimes includes by-products such as milk and gelatin as well. Although commonly consisting of hives and swelling, these reactions can be life-threatening, and a simple blood test became available in 2013 to aid in diagnosis. These reactions were described initially in 2009, and seem to be associated with tick bites. Consider making an appointment if you have concerns, and appropriate testing and counseling can alleviate concerns and make sure you eat safely. To learn more about this allergy, read our article here.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is often an itchy, red rash caused by direct contact with an allergen. Typically, the rash won’t appear after the first time you touch something you are allergic to, but it often happens the next time. Dr. Brauer can help you figure out what is causing your allergic reactions, often through a skin test, and prescribe a treatment plan.
Common triggers for contact dermatitis include:
- Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac
- Hair dyes or straighteners
- Nickel, a metal found in jewelry and belt buckles
- Leather (specifically, chemicals used in tanning leather)
- Latex rubber
- Citrus fruit, especially the peel
- Fragrances in soaps, shampoos, lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics
- Some medications you put on your skin
Hives (Urticaria) & Angioedema
Hives often consist of raised red and white bumps on the skin’s surface which can be caused by an allergic reaction. Hives can itch, burn, or sting, and can be found anywhere on the body. As a reaction to the body releasing histamine, small blood vessels begin to leak and cause swelling in the skin. Angioedema is the swelling of the deep layers of the skin, and appears on the face around the lips, eyes, and cheeks and on the hands and feet. Angioedema and hives are often associated with each other. Call Bluegrass Family Allergy to schedule a consultation and determine the best treatment approach for your hives or angioedema. In 2014, a new treatment was approved for hives by the FDA called Xolair, and this infrequent injection may offer relief.