An allergic reaction occurs when foreign materials or substances come into contact with the body. These substances are called allergens, and they are everywhere.
Allergy triggers can typically be found in a variety of everyday places. They are in food, air, water, or even on surfaces of other materials. However, our bodies all have different reactions when they encounter an allergen. Some of us may have a slight rash while others need immediate medical assistance.
Many allergies affect each part of the body, but we’ll only focus on skin allergies today.
Why Do We Have Allergies?
The answer to this question all comes down to the body’s immune system which guards against any harmful substances. A variety of skin conditions can arise if the body can’t handle an allergen.
Allergies often are caused by genetics. It’s not uncommon for an entire family to have a sensitivity to an allergen. The environment in which we live in during childhood can affect our allergies. Exposure to food allergens during pregnancy or infancy may strengthen a baby’s resistance to that food.
Skin Allergy Triggers
Many people are unaware that they even have skin allergies. They have never interacted with the allergen, so they’ve never seen what kind of reaction will manifest.
Common allergy triggers are bee stings, eating specific foods, coming into contact with pollen or particular plants, medications, dust, and pet dander. Additionally, beauty products like cream or soap can also contain allergens.
Surprisingly, stress is known to causes rashes or hives. Additionally, skin allergies don’t respond well to medications when one has a lot of stress.
Stress management is vital to avoid a stress rash and to increase the effectiveness of solutions used to treat skin allergies. Aside from allergies, stress is a part of our everyday lives, so understanding how to manage it is key to leading a healthier life.
Skin Allergy Types and Symptoms
According to the AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology), types of skin allergies are categorized according to their cause. The most common allergies include Eczema also known as Atopic Dermatitis. Certain foods are known to bring on eczema, and the condition is more common in children than adults.
Atopic Dermatitis can also be caused by other factors like asthma. Its symptoms include itchy, red, and dry skin. Bumps are also likely to appear on the skin during outbreaks.
Other common types of skin allergies are hives, allergic contact dermatitis, and angioedema. Symptoms for these types of skin allergies range from itching, rash, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and nasal congestion.
Skin Allergy Test
How do you know if you’re allergic to something?
A skin allergy test is essential when you suspect that your skin reacts to substances, but you cannot pinpoint the exact culprit.
During a skin allergy test, experienced medical personnel may expose your skin to common skin allergens. This will be followed by close monitoring for any reactions. A history of your family lineage can also be used as a starting point to determine which substances cause your skin to react.
Although skin tests are generally not harmful, there are situations where a doctor will not perform the exam, usually due to having a history of extreme allergic reactions or unique skin conditions. In such cases, blood tests can be the only route to test skin allergies.
Medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and those used to control heartburn and asthma, may interfere with test results.
There is no specific skin allergy medication. However, over the counter antihistamines can be the solution to mild allergy relief. These medications usually cause drowsiness, so please consult with your doctor before taking them.
Decongestants are also used to unblock congestion in the nose and chest. They are available in the form of pills, sprays, or liquid. When using decongestants, expect a rise in blood pressure or irritability as well as difficulty urinating.
Corticosteroids or simple steroids are used to combat allergy-induced inflammation. Steroids work well in treating nasal congestion and sneezing, but they must be taken routinely to prevent their effects from wearing off.
In some cases, you can use essential oils, like tea tree oil or rose essential oil.
Natural and Homemade Remedies
Some at-home care for minor irritation can prevent a doctor’s visit. Baking soda can reduce your skin’s reaction to an allergy by balancing the pH level of the region.
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Oatmeal is another home-born solution for smaller reactions. Hot bath water and oatmeal will help soothe itchy skin and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Other Ways of Controlling the Effects of a Skin Allergy
Applying something cold to lower the temperature of the affected region is a great way to reduce inflammation, redness, and itchiness. One of the best methods is the cold compress. All you need is a very cold item, like an ice cube in a sealed plastic bag, and place it over the itchy area or the rash. This method works well on those allergies caused by heat and insect bites.
Another method is taking an ice-cold bath. While uncomfortable, this will have the same effect as a cold compress although now you will be lowering your entire body temperature. This method is ideal in extreme cases where the rash has spread all over the body.
Try to wear loose-fitting clothing during outbreaks as this will minimize any additional irritation or damage to your skin.
The most effective way to treat allergies is to avoid anything that contains allergens, but sometimes this method is impractical considering how pervasive allergens are in our foods and environment. Even if you try to minimize contact as much as possible, travelling to new places might expose you to new substances that cause skin reactions.
That is why you need to heed this advice when it comes to overcoming the itchiness, swelling, redness, or any other effect that is brought about by an allergy. Be aware of any allergies you have and consult a doctor before using a new treatment method.