Allergic skin reactions

Allergic reactions not only include sneezing or a swollen throat, they can also appear as a skin reaction. Skin can react to several elements, such as soap, clothing, beauty products, and the list goes on. Our skin is also a vector for emotional reactions, such as stress, so it can react in several different ways depending on the cause. Keep an eye out for how your skin reacts in various situations.

What do hives look like?

Did you notice swollen, red patches like small bumps on your skin? It could be hives. You certainly know the expression that someone gives you hives? The reference here comes from the fact that these symptoms can appear after a period of intense stress, but they can also be due to a reaction to a medication, insect bite, or a shock to the skin (intense cold, sun, etc.). Whatever it is, hives can be treated, but cannot be prevented as of now.

What does eczema look like?

Although it is very common, eczema is definitely one of the most irritating skin reactions, because it can be triggered at any time. It is characterized by very dry skin mixed with rough patches, which can become severely itchy. Ouch! This type of skin reaction may be due to the fact that the skin barrier isn’t working properly, as in the case of atopic dermatitis, for example, which allows allergens such as pollen or animal hair to penetrate the skin. Eczema may also be hereditary. In any case, people with eczema should make sure to keep their skin well hydrated and be very careful about the products that come into contact with their skin, including laundry detergent, or even creams and perfumes.

Why are people allergic to insect bites and stings?

When insects sting the skin, they inject venom or other substances that can cause swelling, itching and redness. In most cases, these reactions are not very serious and resolve in a few hours. However, certain people develop a serious allergy to the venom of specific insects, such as bees, wasps and bumble bees, and their reaction to a sting can resemble that of a food allergy. In some cases, it is important to have an EpiPen on hand, since the allergic reaction can be life threatening.

Can you be allergic to latex?

Besides various soaps and perfumed products, some people can have an allergic reaction to latex. You could be surprised to learn that latex is a natural substance found in certain plants that is transformed and used to produce rubber. The symptoms of this allergic reaction can resemble hives, or even hay fever and asthma, which can be confusing to someone who doesn’t know what they are allergic to.  Even people who aren’t allergic to latex, but who are often in contact with rubber, can present minor skin reactions. Latex is a substance to be used sparingly!

Why are you allergic to poison ivy?

Poison ivy and ragweed… What is the difference? It is important not to confuse the two plants which provoke completely different reactions in humans. Ragweed is known to cause hay fever (sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes) and doesn’t affect the skin at all. Poison ivy, on the other hand, is a plant that secretes sap that causes a serious skin reaction. When your skin comes in contact with the sap – whether directly or indirectly, or via an animal or an object that has touched it – your skin can swell and form blisters, on top of being itchy. This reaction is very unpleasant, but usually resolves itself in 48 hours or less.

What are the common skin reactions with an allergy?

Do you think you are experiencing an allergic skin reaction? The symptoms caused by reactive skin are for the most part similar, so it is quite easy to distinguish them. Often there is itching, redness, swelling and dry patches. In the case of hives, swollen bumps can appear. In any case, it is important to be on the outlook for respiratory difficulties, or other symptoms which may appear and require immediate medical attention!

Are any treatments possible?

Solutions for allergic reactions on the skin vary according to their cause. Colloidal oatmeal is excellent for dryness and itching, as well as several other over-the-counter or prescription topical treatments which are available at the pharmacy. If your skin is itchy or worrying you for whatever reason, talk to your pharmacist.

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and Accès pharma affiliated pharmacist-owners cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change.

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Common skin conditions


One in five people occasionally suffer from hives, a skin condition characterized by the appearance of swollen red or pink patches in a variety of shapes that are often itchy

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