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Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when something that our skin touches causes a rash.  This can occur immediately or can take time to appear.  There are two types of contact dermatitis:  allergic and irritant contact dermatitis (which is more common). In allergic contact dermatitis symptoms can occur a few hours to weeks after the contact. Symptoms include itching, redness, burning, stinging, hives, and blisters. Common causes of allergic contact dermatitis include poison ivy, makeup, nickel, fragrances, nail polishes and adhesive latex gloves. In irritant contact dermatitis something irritates the skin and also damages the outer layers of the skin.  With enough contact a lot of things will irritate our skin including water.  Irritant contact dermatitis can develop at work.  Beauticians, chefs, florists and nurses and others who spend lots of time with wet hands get this.  It often starts with itchy dry, cracked hands. Irritant contact dermatitis include diaper rash, bleach, water, soaps, and paints.  With repeat exposure the rash worsens. A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis can occur in a few people.  Symptoms occur within seconds or minutes.  A person may develop swelling of the throat causing difficulty breathing and swollen face and eyes.  Seek immediate medical care if this occurs. Dr Hayag does a little investigative work when a patient consults her with contact dermatitis.  A careful history and a list of questions that include occupation, skin care products, cosmetics, hobbies, pets, fragrances, and jewelry will be asked. After that she devises a proper treatment plan to the patients in New York. Contact dermatitis treatments include avoidance of the allergen, antihistamines, moisturizers, and topical steroid creams.  Occasionally oral prednisone may be prescribed for severe reactions.

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