Contact allergy is an allergic reaction that occurs when the skin comes into contact with an allergen.
The allergen can be a substance that you are exposed to at work, at home or in connection with a leisure activity. Contact allergy can also occur after exposure to an allergen through skin-to-skin contact, e.g. when you give another person the hand. The allergic reaction usually develops over a period of days or weeks and causes the skin to itch, turn red and inflamed. In severe cases, blisters and swelling may occur. Contact allergy can hit all parts of the body, but it is most common to find on hands, neck, face and upper part of the chest.
There are many different substances that can cause contact allergy, including metals (eg nickel), chemicals (eg latex), plants (eg toxic efeu) and cosmetics (eg hair color).
Contact allergy is a type of allergic contact eczema
If you have contact allergy, it is important to avoid being exposed to the allergen. If you are not sure what is causing your allergy, you may need to go to a doctor or allergologist to have an examination done. The treatment typically includes the use of a local steroid cream or ointment to reduce inflammation and itching. In severe cases, it may be necessary to take oral steroids. If you get a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), you need to go to the hospital to be treated.
How can you detect contact allergy or symptoms of allergy?
If you think you may have come into contact with an allergen, look for symptoms such as itching, redness and swelling of the skin. These symptoms typically occur within 24-48 hours after exposure to the allergen. If you have previously had a reaction to an allergen you may develop symptoms faster
If you have come into contact with an allergen and develop symptoms, it is important to remove the source of the allergy and wash the affected area with water and soap. You can then apply a cool compress to the area to relieve itching and pain. If your symptoms are severe, go to the doctor.
How to prevent contact allergy?
The best way to prevent contact allergy is to avoid being exposed to the allergen. If you are allergic to a particular substance, be sure to read the labels carefully and avoid products that contain the allergen. If you work with substances that can cause contact allergy, wear gloves and other protective clothing. If you think you may have come into contact with an allergen, wash the area of water and soap as soon as possible.
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