Monthly Archives: March 2014

Allergic Skin Conditions

What are Allergic Skin Conditions – Allergic Contact Dermatitis

BestAllergistNYC2Allergic contact dermatitis is a skin condition that appears in people who are hypersensitive to certain substances. When these people come in contact with those substances, an allergic reaction appears on their skin. The initial contact with a substance that is an allergen is not usually followed by a break-out of symptoms; the symptoms appear on the second and subsequent exposures. After the contact, the immune system overreacts in its response to what is perceived to be an attack.

With the allergic process, a number of chemicals are released, including histamines, which cause an inflammation. Allergic contact dermatitis is not a life-threatening condition, however, a visit to an allergy doctor may be needed to determine the allergen and get advice on the treatment.

Causes of allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis can be caused by coming in contact with a number of allergens, some of which are:

  • Nickel, gold, and chromium
  • Balsam of Peru, used in production of lotions and perfumes
  • Neomycin and bacitracin, topical antibiotics
  • Allergens that trigger allergic contact dermatitis found in cosmetic products and jewelry
  • Citrus fruit, the peel especially
  • Other plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak

Symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis

Symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis include:

  • A rash on the skin in the area that came into contact with the allergen
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin redness, and possible oozing, drainage, or scaly skin

Allergic dermatitis symptoms usually appear sometime after coming into contact with the allergen. The area that came into contact with the allergen is usually the area where the symptoms appear and they usually start off with an itchy rash, this may ooze or drain. The skin on the area may become scaly. Sometimes it will only be a little red or it can be blistery. The area can swell and feel warm.

Treatment of allergic dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is an incurable condition. After the first exposure to the allergen, the person will have an allergic reaction after every subsequent contact for the rest of their life. The treatment options are aimed at managing the symptoms. An allergist may prescribe the following courses of treatment:

  • Topical corticosteroids – These are the most commonly used treatment for mild to moderate cases.
  • Oral steroids and antihistamines – These are used in more severe cases.

The mildest cases of allergic contact dermatitis usually don’t require any medical treatment. The area should be gently wiped with a damp cloth to make sure all of the allergen is removed from the skin. Topical corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation in mild to moderate cases, but they should be applied with caution because of their side-effects. Severe cases require steroid and antihistamines to be introduced orally.

The most important thing is to determine the allergen and remove it from your environment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best Allergy Doctor in NYC.

Allergic Nasal Conditions (Allergic Rhinitis)

What is Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a common health condition that looks and feels much like a common cold. The condition is the result of contact with an allergen, which causes the person’s immune system to overreact in defense. This leads to well-known symptoms of sneezing, itching, and runny nose. If the person is allergic to a number of grasses used in the production of hay, the condition is called hay fever, although it does not present with a fever. Hay fever is treatable and is not life-threatening, but it can lead to a number of complications. During a visit to an allergist, the doctor will determine what caused the allergic reaction, which can be helpful when treating it.

Causes of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is caused by a number of allergens – pollen, dust mites, animal material, and mold. Hay fever is caused by grass pollen in most cases. After the allergen is inhaled, the immune system sends signals to a type of cells called mast cells to start producing histamines – chemicals that cause inflammation. The immune system overreacts, and the mast cells end up producing more histamines than needed, and doing other things to the body, all of which lead to the cold-like symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching in the eyes, nose, throat, or ears

Sneezing is usually repetitive when having allergic rhinitis, and is also usually worse in the morning. The nose is runny with clear and watery secretion, although the secretion may change if complications develop. Eyes are watery and itchy, and the nose, throat and ears will also possibly be itchy. Less common symptoms include swelling of the eyelids, nasal obstruction, headaches, coughing, and dark circles under the eyes.

Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

Since there’s no cure for allergic rhinitis, treatment is usually aimed at the symptoms, and includes:

  • Nasal corticosteroid sprays – These are usually one of the first treatment options considered by allergists. They are very effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, and are usually a safe choice, but they need some time to start working. Oral or intramuscular steroids are also sometimes used, but their effects are short and they shouldn’t be used for a longer time.
  • Decongestants – These can help relieve a stuffy nose, but they shouldn’t be used for more than a few days.
  • Antihistamines – Both nasal and oral, antihistamines can also be used to treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  • Allergy Shots – Also called immunotherapy, allergy shots are done when it’s not possible to avoid the allergen, so an increasing amount of the allergen is introduced into the system via the shots, hoping that it will desensitize the immune system and reduce the symptoms of the allergy.

If you want to discuss your treatment options for hay fever, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best Allergy Doctor in NYC.

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