4 Questions to Ask Your Skin Allergy Doctor
If you frequently get rashes, redness, and itchy skin, you could have skin allergies. Get help at Piniella Asthma + Allergy. Our board-certified allergist and immunology specialist Dr. Carlos Piniella, MD provide allergy testing and diagnosis and can recommend lifestyle changes and treatment for allergies so you can feel better. Contact us for more information or schedule an appointment online! We have convenient locations to serve you in Coral Gables FL and Palmetto Bay FL.
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Allergic contact dermatitis is a reaction that happens when an allergen comes into direct contact with the skin. People can be allergic to many different things, including soaps and cosmetics, fabrics, chemicals, medications, latex, jewelry containing nickel, dander, and saliva from pets, insect venom, plants, and foods.
When these materials come into contact with your skin, your immune system recognizes them as a threat and causes certain cells, called mast cells, to produce and release a chemical called histamine. Histamine’s job is to get rid of unfamiliar particles and set up defenses so tissues don’t get infected or damaged by harmful pathogens. It can cause an increase in mucus production, vomiting and diarrhea, swelling of tissues, constriction of muscles, and changes to leakiness of blood vessels to allow white blood cells to get in to combat the threat. This response is helpful when there is a virus or bacteria that can cause harm to the body and its tissues and systems. But when there is an allergy, the histamine overreacts to a harmless substance, which causes unpleasant symptoms that can leave the person feeling very uncomfortable.
In the case of skin allergy, histamine causes tiny blood vessels in the skin to leak some fluid, which then pools under the skin and causes redness, swelling, and itching.
When the allergen contacts the skin, there can be a rash, redness, itching, swelling, blisters, bumps, and hives. Depending on the allergen, the rash may be smooth or bumpy, flat or raised, scaly, oozing and crusting, or flaky. Hives are swollen welts on the surface of the skin while swelling in deeper layers of the skin is called angioedema, which happens often in areas like the eyes, mouth and throat, and genitals.
Some skin allergy reactions resolve with time and remove contact with the allergen. But in some cases, you should see a doctor.
• If your rash is extremely itchy, to the point of causing you to be unable to sleep or perform activities of everyday life.
• If your rash is painful.
• If your rash covers a large portion of your body, or is on your face or genital area.
• If your rash lasts longer than a few weeks.
• If you are suffering from embarrassment about your rash.
• If your skin is broken and you think you may have an infection – yellow pus oozing from the rash, or a fever.
• If you’re having difficulty breathing from inflammation of the nasal passages or lungs.
• If you can’t see properly because of swelling around your eyes.
• If you have swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat. This could be a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
When someone has very severe allergies, sometimes they have multiple different symptoms, including skin allergies. If your reaction includes skin allergies together with other symptoms such as nausea or stomach pain, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, fast pulse, wheezing, or shortness of breath, this is an emergency situation.
Sometimes patients assume that if there’s something happening on their skin, they should see a dermatologist. While dermatologists specialize in the skin, they tend to focus more on conditions like skin cancer, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne.
An allergist diagnoses and treats conditions that cause skin reactions, respiratory reactions, and immune system reactions. Allergists focus on understanding the cause of allergic reactions and the body’s immune response to different allergens, as well as how to reduce or stop reactions.
Our board-certified skin allergists at Piniella Asthma + Allergy provide testing and diagnosis for skin allergies, for adults and children. We also treat patients for other types of allergies and related respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD. Call with your questions or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Coral Gables FL, Palmetto Bay FL, Westchester FL, Brownsville FL, Kendall FL, Pinecrest FL, Richmond West FL, and Goulds FL.