Allergies are the body’s overactive immune response to ordinary substances such as pollen, mold, pet dander, foods, fragrances, and indoor or outdoor pollutants. Skin allergic reactions impact children and adults, and both groups benefit from identifying allergens and customized treatment.
Let’s talk about how skin allergies happen, how to relieve them, and where you can go for effective allergy management in Northeastern Illinois.
What Skin Allergies Are
Like food or respiratory allergies, skin allergies happen when the immune system overreacts to a substance in the home, outdoors, or in ordinary environments. When someone touches an allergic trigger, he or she develops certain skin symptoms because the immune system has released natural chemicals called histamines into the bloodstream.
Other people may have no problem contacting an allergic trigger, such as a particular fabric, a pet’s coat, or saliva or preservatives in cosmetics. However, allergic individuals cannot help but react with uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms.
How Skin Allergies Manifest
While most people may be skin sensitive to new substances, such as household cleaners, perfumes, excessive heat, or dust, the child, teen, or adult with skin allergies develops noticeable symptoms every time he or she contacts the allergens. Symptoms of skin allergies can include:
- Skin redness, swelling, and itchiness
- Hives, or circumscribed, raised, and itchy bumps
- Skin dryness and cracking
Even a small amount of an allergen triggers these overblown responses, which can last for hours to days. Less severe reactions are called urticaria, while more severe and long-lasting responses are called atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Eczema typically appears on the face, backs of the knees, soles of the feet, and inside of the elbows. However, these rashes can break out most anywhere when the person contacts an allergen.
Skin Allergy Relief
Avoidance of Triggers
It helps to avoid allergic triggers as much as possible. To know the substances causing skin allergies (and other kinds of allergies), your allergist will perform skin prick tests which introduce small amounts of suspect substances under the skin to provoke symptoms.
Topical Medications, Oral Medications, or Immunotherapy
Hydrocortisone ointments and creams work well to relieve mild to moderate symptoms of skin allergies. For more pronounced problems, your allergist may advise over-the-counter or prescription oral antihistamines or immunotherapy in the form of shots, nasal spray, or other methods of administration.
In addition, these everyday practices help avoid and quell skin allergy responses:
- Taking warm (not hot) showers and applying sensitive-skin moisturizers every day
- Not scratching the areas of breakout
- Using sensitive skin shampoos, bath soaps, laundry detergents, and dish soaps
Some people keep a diary of suspected skin allergy triggers and their reactions. This information helps patients and their doctors fine-tune their long-term skin allergy treatment plans.
Skin Allergy Assessment and Treatments in Northeastern Illinois
If you wish to get your skin allergies identified and under control, consult with one of the board-certified physicians at Oak Brook Allergists. We have extensive experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the entire spectrum of allergies –including skin allergies—and we devise an effective, personalized treatment plan after a careful evaluation to help you take optimal control of your skin allergies and enjoy long-lasting relief.