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