When thinking of allergies, most think of sneezing, coughing, watering eyes, or gastric discomfort. However, allergies involve more than the respiratory system or the digestive system. The largest organ of the body can experience allergic reactions, too. Skin allergies are often sources of extreme discomfort, with itchy, unsightly rashes, dry skin, hives, and/or welts. The individual with skin allergies wants immediate relief; and, in order to achieve relief he will need to manage his skin allergy. First, he will need to understand his condition; second, he will need to discover just exactly what triggers the allergic reaction; and third, he will need to take better care of his skin.
First, to understand his condition, he will need to do a little research. He goes to the internet and does an engine search on “skin allergies” which results in millions of website listings. He also reads books from the library and the literature his allergist gave him. In reading, he discovers that allergies are caused by an extreme reaction to allergens and irritants. When the body is exposed to allergens, which are substances that work within it, the body’s immune system provokes a chemical reaction. However, irritants are substances which do not trigger the body’s immune system, but do cause the body to chemically respond with inflammation which will result in symptoms.
Second, to manage his skin allergy, the person needs to discover what triggers the allergic reaction. If he went to the allergist, he knows what his allergies are; yet, since there are over 3,000 identified triggers for skin allergies, he might be allergic to more things than once thought. Again, from reading, he knows some triggers are natural substances, such as foods, and are known as allergens. Other triggers are artificial, such as latex, and known as irritants. Although latex begins as a natural product the sap of the rubber tree other proteins are added in the manufacturing phase to produce such things as latex gloves, clothing and shoes, and bandaids. Usually, in dealing with a latex allergy, it would be best to use vinyl or plastic products. If possible, latex products should be completely avoided.
Another substance which often triggers allergic reactions is a metal called nickel. Used in thousands of products, nickel can be found in jewelry such as earrings, coins, scissors, door handles, and zippers. Fortunately, treatments can reduce the allergy symptoms from nickel. However, because of the extensive use of nickel, the symptoms would probably just reappear. Of course, there are many more triggers than these two. For example, the person with a skin allergy will want to avoid allergens such as: poison ivy; insect bites or stings; and other plant secretions. Irritants such as detergents and cleaning solutions, cosmetics and fragrances, and some hygiene products should also be avoided by the person with skin allergies.
Third, in order to manage his skin allergy, the individual must take better care of his skin. Personal hygiene becomes one of the most important habits to maintain. Keeping fingernails short and smooth becomes necessary since this will prevent injury to the skin if scratched. The individual should often moisturize his skin to keep it moist. If the moisturizer is inadequate, then he should have an allergist prescribe a corticosteroid cream to soothe skin inflammation. Also, he should avoid bathing or showering with hot water and bubble baths, as well. Actually, the best way to bathe would be a long soak in warm water with baking soda or oatmeal added in, both skin soothing agents. Moreover, mild or pH neutral soap should be used. The skin should be gently dried with moisturizer applied afterward. Further efforts at managing skin allergies will sometimes necessitate the need to avoid certain sports. If swimming, the person with a skin allergy will need to rinse the chlorine off the skin very thoroughly. In managing his skin allergies, the individual will be relieved his skin is finally not misbehaving.