An allergic reaction can have its first signs in the skin leading to itching or a visible rash such as hives. These allergies may be related to substances such as drugs, food, insects, dyes and metals. However, not all rashes are a result of allergy. Examples of other causes include infections, emotions, irritants, pregnancy autoimmunity and ultraviolet radiation. There are countless causes of rashes that your doctor can help identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment.
What is a rash?
A rash is change in the appearance or sensation of the skin leading to change in color, blister, itching, swelling and irritation. It can affect people of all ages and there are numerous causes. The causes are vast and therefore it is important to consult with an expert to identify the offender to tailor an appropriate treatment for relief.
There are numerous products and ingredients that we use daily that can lead to adverse rashes and symptoms. These sensitivities may be a result of allergy or toxicity. In addition to a detailed history, your physician has appropriated testing options that can identify the offending agent.
Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin where the skin has difficulty maintaining moisture. Many triggers exacerbate this condition include stress and allergies. The symptoms when mild involve itching but can be part of a spectrum that includes cracking, swelling, redness, bleeding and infection. In addition, there are many types of eczema that your physician can diagnose and tailor the appropriate treatment. Although there is no cure for eczema, it can be controlled and children can be kept symptom free with skin care. Most children outgrow eczema when they get into their teenage years. Eczema can get complicated during flares. The most common complication includes itching and the most severe can include an infection (see photos below). It is very important to control eczema as early and as soon as possible. Scientist have found evidence that food and environmental allergies may develop via the uncontrolled eczema.
Hives also called ‘urticaria’ is a rash that is characterized by red, raised, itchy swelling of the skin that wax and wane. Generally, a single lesion does not last more than a couple hours. Though it is commonly a result of allergy, there are many non-allergic causes. An allergy and Immunology doctor has the training and expertise in diagnosing and treating hives.
When the rash is a result of an allergy, it is considered a systemic reaction involving the whole body. The significance of this is that subsequent allergic reactions may be more violent and lead to a life threatening condition. Therefore it is important to identify the etiology of this allergic reaction with your physician to help avoid future reactions. Hives are generally controlled even before finding the underlying cause.
The non-allergic causes are numerous and could be a result of mild condition to more severe systemic illnesses. These conditions include underlying Rheumatologic, Infectious, Endocrine, Hematologic and Autoimmune diseases. The treatment of these underlying conditions generally leads to resolution of the urticarial rash.