Irritation or Allergic Reaction?

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For some people, they have “tough” skin that can take a beating and keep on going. For others, however, sensitive skin is an issue that affects them on a daily basis. Often, it is difficult to distinguish between whether an unexpected response of the skin is an allergic reaction or simply a harmless irritation. Understanding the difference between a skin irritation and an allergic reaction is important – and it can even save your life should a severe reaction occur.

Below are steps for helping to distinguish between the two:

  • Watch for other symptoms. If a rash of any kind appears on your skin, stop and pay attention. Is your skin simply changing colors and creating a “pink” appearance, or is your skin turning red? Is your skin burning or itching? Is your skin becoming inflamed? Is the rash spreading? If there are any signs that the rash is changing, expanding, or becoming more than just a slight irritation, an allergy may be the cause of your reaction. It is important to write down exactly what you have eaten or come into contact with and the symptoms that you experience so that you can bring them to your doctor’s attention.
  • Call your doctor. If your symptoms indicate an allergic reaction beyond a minor irritation, call a board-certified dermatologist right away to let them know of your situation. Urgent skin concerns can quickly cause other reactions to occur. If your skin is reacting to something that you ate, your body could start experiencing internal symptoms in reaction to an allergy. Serious skin reactions need to be addressed by a professional!
  • Treat your symptoms. Taking an over the counter antihistamine has saved lives. An OTC antihistamine such as Benadryl® can help delay or minimize the reaction and severity. Applying cortisone to the affected skin can also help soothe the skin, lessen the severity, and help it from spreading. These “treatments” are not meant to replace a visit to the doctor – they are meant to help you until you are seen.

At Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta,Dr. Jamie Weisman is a nationally recognized dermatologist who sees children and adults. She is able to handle your urgent skin concerns and determine if they are the results of irritation or allergies. Your skin is actively responding to your life. It is important that you pay attention to what it is telling you!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.