Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Allergic Eczema
Many factors can trigger an eczema outbreak. Whether you’re susceptible to hereditary reasons or environmental factors, no one ever covets the itchy rash that eczema induces. Of all the triggers, few can be as frustrating as experiencing allergic eczema.
Allergies are an interesting ailment. Unlike other afflictions, allergies are an autoimmune response, which means they are caused by your body's defense mechanisms. Your body is always on the alert to leap into action if it encounters something that might cause illness, but it can be fooled and respond when there’s no real threat.
As you go about your day, you’ll encounter hundreds of different substances that might trick your immune system and trigger an allergic response. Most won’t affect you at all, but some might, and that’s when you’ll experience an allergic reaction.
There is a wide array of symptoms you might experience from an allergic reaction. They most commonly include sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate, and hives. But for some, allergies can manifest in an eczema outbreak with its unique lineup of symptoms and treatment requirements.
Read on to learn what you need to know about this type of eczema to minimize your discomfort and maximize treatment options.
Causes of Allergic Eczema
If you have a cat allergy and inhale some dander, you’re probably going to notice right away. There’s not much of a delayed response to this type of allergic reaction. When it comes to allergy-induced eczema, however, it may take hours from contact with an allergen before you start showing signs of eczema.
Known as a “delayed allergy,” sometimes eczema caused by allergies won’t appear for 24–48 hours after initial exposure. While there are a wide variety of allergens that can trigger an eczema reaction, some are more common than others. They include:
- Nickel, which is found in jewelry, buttons, and belts.
- Dyes (clothing and hair dye).
- Perfumes, colognes, and scented cosmetic products.
- Glue and other adhesive products.
- Soaps, and household cleaning products.
- A variety of creams and ointments, especially those with antibiotic properties.
The best treatment for allergic eczema is simply not to come in contact with an allergen in the first place. Knowing your triggers and planning accordingly is a great first step for minimizing outbreaks.
Symptoms of Allergic Eczema
Like other forms of eczema, allergic eczema can manifest in many ways for different individuals. That said, there are a few common tell-tale signs that you can use to identify them.
- Redness and inflammation: Most eczema outbreaks will exhibit redness and inflammation like other rashes.
- Significant itchiness: Eczema is sometimes known as “the itch that rashes” because itchiness is often the first symptom you feel before visible signs occur.
- Bumps and blisters: In some cases, actually raised bumps and fluid-filled blisters can form at the site of your eczema outbreak.
- Oozing and crusting: Pus from burst blisters and scratching can crust on and around the rash.
- Thickened, scaly skin: Especially towards the end of a flare-up, your skin may appear thick, scaly, and leather.
Allergic eczema may have all these symptoms, or only a few. If you notice them in conjunction, odds are you are experiencing an eczema episode as opposed to another type of allergic reaction.
Treatment for Allergic Eczema
To properly treat allergic eczema, you will need to have it properly diagnosed. The most common way to do this is to receive a “patch test” from a medical professional. This test involves applying patches treated with various allergens to determine what is causing your reaction. After 48 hours, the results will be checked, and the culprit named.
Unlike other forms of eczema which may persist regardless of at-home treatment, the allergen-induced variety tends to respond well to simple treatments. The first step should be thoroughly rinsing the affected area to remove any residual allergen. Once this is accomplished, most outbreaks will resolve themselves.
For persistent allergic reactions, your doctor may prescribe topical ointments or oral antihistamines. These will help counteract the immune response your body is having that triggered the eczema outbreak. Once resolved, it’s important to pay attention to the results of the patch test and avoid contact with the offending substance that caused your eczema episode.
Allergies aren’t fun, and they are especially annoying when accompanied by the itchy rash of an eczema flare-up. There are a variety of symptoms associated with allergic eczema, and while none are desirable, they can be used to help you reach an accurate diagnosis.
Luckily, allergic eczema is treatable. Learning what triggers your allergies is a great step in avoiding further flare-ups and the other symptoms associated with an allergic reaction.