Skin Allergy: Causes, Treatment and More.
Skin Allergy can be a sign and symptom of different allergies. Moreover, they can be due to the direct result of exposure to an allergy.
An Allergy is an immune response to a foreign body or substance that is usually not harmful to your body.
These foreign substances or bodies are Allergens and they can include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.
Skin Allergy is due to an immune response. The immune system in your body helps to keep you healthy by fighting harmful pathogens like bacterias, viruses, etc.
It does this by attacking anything that is not a part of your natural body. Moreover, depending on the allergen, this response can involve possible inflammation, sneezing, or a host of different symptoms.
For instance, if your body encounters pet dander,s and you are allergic to it, your immune response will attack it as a result of an allergy.
Allergens or molecules which can potentially cause allergy are present in the surrounding environment and are present in the form of pollen, food, mold, dust mites, or insect venoms.
When your body is threatened by these molecules or foreign bodies, it reacts with an immune response, thus we develop an Allergy.
Interestingly, no one is born with allergies. Instead, about 50 million people in the US suffer from allergies only when they come in contact with an allergen and develop an allergy.
Moreover, hayfever affects about 400 million people worldwide, with asthma affecting 300 million, food allergies between 200 to 250 million, and drug allergies affecting almost 10% of the world’s population.
According to the World Allergy Organization WAO, the prevalence of allergic diseases is increasing significantly in both developed and developing countries.
Types of Skin Allergies
There are different types of skin allergies.
For instance, eating a food you are allergic to can cause different symptoms, and you may experience itching in your mouth and throat. Moreover, you can also develop a rash.
Allergic Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction when your skin comes in contact with an allergen directly.
This can happen if you touch something you are allergic to, such as detergents or plants.
Types of Skin Allergies are as follows:
Rashes: Areas of your skin can get irritated, red, or swollen. Moreover, they can cause pain and itching.
Eczema: Eczema causes patches of your skin to become inflamed and can often itch or bleed.
Sore Throat: In this type of allergy, your throat has irritation and inflammation.
Hives: You can experience different sizes of raised welts, itchy bumps, red and itchy skin and they can develop on any part of your body.
Swollen Eyes: Your eyes can be watery or itchy due to dust or an allergic reaction to particles in the atmosphere.
Contact Dermatitis: In case you come in direct contact with an allergen like metal, it can cause red, itchy patches on your skin.
Burning: Inflammation of the skin can lead to discomfort and stinging sensations on your skin.
Now let us discuss the causes of Skin Allergies.
Causes of Skin Allergies
Researchers are not sure exactly why the immune system causes an allergic reaction when a usually harmless substance or foreign body enters the body.
However, certain allergies have a genetic component. This means that either of your parent of both of them can pass down an allergy to their children.
However, genetics is only a general susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
Specific allergies do not transfer or pass down from parents to children.
For instance, if your mother is allergic to artificial jewelry, then it does not necessarily mean that you will be too.
Let us discuss common types of allergens.
Types of Allergens
The following are the common types of allergens that can cause an allergic reaction in your body.
Animal Products: These include pet danders, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
Insect Stings: Certain insects like bees, wasps, and mosquitoes can cause allergies.
Plants: Pollens from the trees, grass, weeds as well as from the resin plants like poison ivy, poison oak are common plant allergens.
Drugs: Drugs like penicillin and sulfa drugs can cause an allergic reaction.
Foods: Certain food items like walnuts, peanuts, milk, wheat, shellfish, eggs, etc. can causes allergies.
Mold: Mold produces airborne spores which can trigger an allergic reaction.
Other Allergens: Latex, a particle found in gloves and metals like nickel can cause allergies.
Seasonal allergies, like hay fever, are one of the most common allergies and are due to the presence of pollen in the plants’ releases.
They can cause itchy eyes, watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing.
Moreover, food allergies are becoming more common. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education FARE, about 15 million Americans have food allergies.
Children are more likely to develop food allergies and approx, 1 out of 13 children have a food allergy.
According to FARE, cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts like cashews, soy, wheat, etc, accounts for 90% of all food allergies.
The best option for you is to stay away from triggers of an allergic reaction.
However. if that is not the case, and you are unable to avoid them, there are different treatment options available.
These include medications, Immunotherapy, Epinephrine, and certain home remedies. Let’s discuss the treatment options.
Treatment for an allergic reaction usually includes medications like antihistamines to control the symptoms.
These medications can either be OTC, over-the-counter, or prescription medications. However, the recommendations of your doctor depending on the severity of the allergies you are experiencing.
Medications for allergy include antihistamines like Benadryl, corticosteroids, cetirizine, loratadine, cromolyn sodium, leukotriene modifiers, or decongestants.
Moreover, if the above medications are not suitable for you, then your doctor can prescribe Singulair.
This is because it can increase your risk of serious behavioral and mood changes, such as suicidal thoughts and actions.
You can opt for immunotherapy as well, just like a lot of people opt for.
This involves a number of injections over the course of years to help your body get used to the allergies you have.
Allergy shots or immunotherapy contains a little amount of a specific substance or molecule that triggers an allergic reaction in your body, the allergens.
This helps to stimulate your immune system but not enough to cause a complete allergic reaction.
Over time, your doctor can increase the dosage of allergens, moreover, making your body getting used to the allergens.
Therefore, this helps your immune system to build a tolerance to the allergens, causing the symptoms of allergy to fade or diminish over time.
If you have a severe or life-threatening allergy, you should carry an emergency epinephrine shot.
These severe allergies can be due to pet dander, insect stings, medications, or other food allergies.
This medication is in the class of alpha-and beta-androgenic agonists, or sympathomimetic agents, and works by relaxing muscles in the airways and tightening the blood vessels.
This shot counters allergic reactions until medical help reaches your house. Common brands are EpiPen and Twinject.
Moreover, certain allergic responses are a medical emergency.
The signs and symptoms of a medical emergency due to an allergic reaction can affect your airways, nose, skin, mouth, and digestive system.
Home Remedies for Skin Allergies
There are a number of home remedies you can opt for. These remedies have been used by people for many years to relieve the symptoms due to an allergic reaction. The following are some of the home remedies you can use at home:
- Plants and Herbs
- Baking Soda
Let’s discuss how to use them effectively to treat skin allergies at home.
Oatmeal has a number of biological properties and includes antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components.
Moreover, they can help reduce inflammation and soothe itching of allergic skin reactions.
Some famous ways of using oatmeal to treat a skin allergy are oatmeal bath and poultice.
Both of these ways require oatmeal in powder form. You can make this powder by grinding oatmeal into a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder.
For an oatmeal bath, use a small amount or 1 cup of powdered oatmeal and add it to a bathtub of lukewarm water. Mix it thoroughly and fully immerse your body into the tub.
After 30 minutes, rinse yourself with a cool and gentle shower.
For this, add 1/4 cup of oatmeal into a mixing bowl and mix it with filtered or distilled water, 1tbs. at a time.
Continue mixing and adding water until smooth paste forms, Apply the paste on the affected area or gently bandage the area with a moist cloth.
After 30 minutes, remove the cloth and rinse the area with cool water. Later, moisturize the area.
You can add 1 tbs of coconut oil, or a few drops of lavender essential oil, or even both for soothing effects
Plants and Herbs
Natural practitioners often recommend using a number of plants to treat skin allergies.
Some of these are as follows:
Pemex Japonicus Houtt: According to a study in 2016, this herb is an effective alternative therapy for atopic dermatitis.
Konjac Ceramide: According to a study in 2006, taking konjac ceramide by mouth improves skin conditions and also reduces allergic reactions in children with atopic dermatitis.
Aloe Vera: Topical use of this gel can smooth itching skin in case of atopic dermatitis and other conditions.
Persimmon Leaf Extract: A study in 2002 suggests that oral intake of this leaf extract prevents and has healing qualities in mice.
Other plants and herbs like basil, chamomile, coriander, English marigold, neem are among other plants that can help reduce the symptoms of skin allergy.
Baking soda is another effective home remedy that can balance the pH of the skin.
Moreover, it works as an anti-inflammatory product to soothe itching skin.
You can use it in the following ways:
Baking Soda Bath
By mixing 1 cup of baking soda into lukewarm water in a bathtub, you can soak your body in the mixture for 15 minutes.
Afterward, rinse your body gently with a lukewarm shower.
Baking Soda Paste
Mix 4 tbs of baking soda and 12 tbs of distilled or filtered water. Apply the paste on the affected or itch area.
After 10 minutes rinse it with cool water.
You can use coconut oil instead of water
There is no way to prevent symptoms of skin allergy, however, there are different ways you can prevent the symptoms to occur.
The best way you can opt for is to avoid the allergens that trigger them.
Avoiding them is one of the most effective ways to prevent food allergies. You can eliminate the food items that cause skin allergy, by reading the food label and asking questions while dining out.
Moreover, preventing seasonal, contact or other allergies comes down to avoiding triggers or allergens and avoiding them.
For instance, if you are allergic to pet danders, avoid keeping pets at home.
Proper allergic tests like blood tests, patch tests, and skin tests can help you to know the exact triggers of a skin allergy and can help you to avoid them.
Skin Allergy is common and does not have life-threatening results for many people. However, people who are at risk of anaphylaxis can learn to manage their allergies and what to do in an emergency.
If your skin is allergic to different substances or food particles, animals, or plants, there there are different treatment options available that can help you find relief.
However, it is important to consult your doctor before following or using any medication, natural or otherwise.