Some skin problems are caused by an overreaction from the immune system because immune system is over acting or producing too much of a response to an internal or external irritant.
If there is an immediate reaction, it is called an anaphylactic response and usually happens within a few seconds to a few minutes. Common anaphylactic responses include resulting bee stings, bug bites or a reaction from foods like shellfish or nuts. In this type of response, your body releases chemicals that cause the blood vessels to leak fluid. The chemicals in the fluid cause hives and swelling. They also cause the lungs to constrict and the combination of swelling in the throat area and lung constriction makes it hard to breath.
Anaphylactic reactions are very dangerous and can be deadly so it is important to be aware of allergies. Once my girlfriend and I decided to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while her 18 month old son, who had a peanut allergy, was napping. When he woke up 30 minutes later, we started to shower him with kisses and the skin around his mouth began to swell from the peanut butter remnants on our lips! It was an important lesson in being careful when someone has an anaphylactic response.
The best treatment is to avoid anything that would cause a reaction. It is also important to carry an epinephrine injection or an “epi” pin in case of an accidental contact. It will help the body from over responding and closing off the windpipe until the person can be seen by their physician.
Contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation where the immune system responds to direct contact with the skin. In contact dermatitis, an itchy red rash tends to develop. Common examples are poison ivy, certain flowers, grasses, herbs, chemical detergents or cleaning, some fabrics, fruits or vegetables.
Like previously mentioned, avoidance of allergens is key. If you have a contact with the specific allergen, I recommend demulcents, which are substances that feel soothing like oatmeal or calendula baths. Contact dermatitis usually lasts no more than 7-10 days.
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com