It’s important to treat any kind of skin allergy as soon as possible in order to avoid long-term health complications and itchy skin that can make you feel miserable. But you don’t have to wait until you have an allergic reaction to talk to your dermatologist about this; the sooner you start treatment, the better off you’ll be! Read on to learn more about how South Miami Dermatology can help with your skin allergy treatment and prevention.
How to spot a skin allergy
Skin allergies are a result of an immune system reaction to something that’s touched your skin. That something could be a chemical, a drug, or even something completely natural and benign—it doesn’t really matter. The most common type of skin allergy is contact dermatitis, which results from direct contact with an irritant. Symptoms include redness, itching, burning and swelling around whatever irritated your skin.
The test itself involves taking a small amount of an allergen and pricking your skin with it. A negative result will cause no reaction, but a positive result will form an itchy red bump that looks like a mosquito bite.
If your doctor suspects a skin allergy, he or she will likely perform a patch test. How you respond to a patch test can help determine whether or not you have a skin allergy and what kind of treatment you need. If you have a patch test, your doctor will also likely recommend a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy involves taking a small sample of skin from an irritated area to examine under a microscope. This can confirm whether or not you have an allergy and what caused it, allowing your doctor to recommend treatment options that are most likely to be effective for your symptoms.
There are several treatment options for skin allergies, ranging from over-the-counter to prescription treatments. For more information about identifying skin allergies and treating them, contact our South Miami dermatologist office today.
At South Miami Dermatology, we take pride in offering comprehensive skin health services for our patients. If you are dealing with an allergy or if you’re worried about developing one, be sure to contact us today.
Testing for allergies
For minor skin allergies, you can visit your local dermatologist or family doctor. The dermatologist will apply a small amount of allergen on your skin and watch for a reaction such as redness, swelling or an itchy rash over a period of 48 hours. If there is no reaction after 48 hours, then your skin is most likely not allergic to that ingredient.
Treating allergies with medicine
You might have heard that getting a cat or dog will help relieve your allergies; there is some truth to that. But what about other animals? Often, people believe that pets with short hair are less likely to cause allergies than those with long hair. So if you’re allergic to pet dander, ask about getting a short-haired breed like a poodle or a Shih Tzu. Another option is an air purifier for allergens in your home.
If you have allergies, ask your allergist about immunotherapy as a treatment option. Immunotherapy involves being injected with allergen extracts that can help desensitize your immune system over time. Some people see results in just a few months while others take years to see any real improvement in their symptoms. This is an ongoing process that involves regular injections every two to four weeks for at least one year and up to five years, depending on how effective it is for you.
There are non-medical ways to reduce your symptoms and better manage your allergies. Keeping a diary of what you eat and when, as well as making a list of allergenic foods, will give you more insight into potential triggers. If you’re particularly sensitive to airborne allergens, avoid them as much as possible by using air conditioning or keeping windows closed. Use an air purifier for allergens in your home.
Medications that block histamine may also be helpful. These antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra). Antihistamines take time to build up in your system, so they’re best for preventing a reaction from occurring, not treating one that has already started. Skin Allergy Treatment
For relief of symptoms, over-the-counter options are available. Antihistamines can help reduce itching and watery eyes, while anti-inflammatory creams may help dry up any rashes. Medications like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and naphazoline (Visine) are also available to fight a runny nose and clear your sinuses.
If you or a loved one is suffering from allergies, don’t suffer needlessly.