Skin allergy is abnormal skin sensitivity to any substance (Allergen) that is inhaled, eaten or touched which other people can tolerate without any trouble.
- Seasonal Allergens: These include pollens from grasses, trees and weeds, and some moulds.
- Perennial Allergens: These allergens cause symptoms all the year round. The commonest is house dust mite. These are present in carpets, foot mats, beds, sofas and stuffed toys. Animal dander and hair act as allergens.
- Food Allergens: There is increasing evidence that some foods play significant roles in skin allergies. The common foods are milk, eggs, peanuts & other nuts, wheat, soya, fish etc.
- Drugs: Any drug can cause skin allergy. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, antibiotics like penicillin etc. are common offenders.
There can be increased tendency in some families to develop skin allergies.
Diagnosis is mainly clinical. A good medical history is helpful for the diagnosis of skin allergy. Knowledge of the family history, food history, drug history and any past history of similar problem is very helpful. It may take some tests to find out exactly what the likely allergen isFollowing tests are available to find out the possible allergens:
- Skin prick test
- Absolute Eosinophil count
- Skin Patch test
- Skin Scratch test
- The diagnosis should be confirmed &if possible exact allergen identified.
- Avoid exposure to the allergen.
- Many treatments are available to relieve symptoms like antihistamines, other anti allergic agents, steroids etc.
- Immunotherapy is another modality for treating skin allergies.