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Skin issues that involve itchiness and scratchiness are common and can be caused by a number of factors. For example, in women, itchiness around the earlobes may be caused by an allergic reaction to brand new pair of earrings, which may cause redness, swelling, and the excretion of puss. Other people may experience allergic reactions from trouser buttons, belt buckles, or a watch that causes rashes at the wrist. Other substances that may cause allergic reactions are rubber, cement, and plastic. If you experience these symptoms it is important not to ignore them, as they may be an indication of a skin allergy you may be unaware of.
Dr. Pimonpun Gritiyarangsan, Director of the Bangkok Skin & Aesthetics Center indicates that skin allergies concern the body’s immune system and its reaction to the surrounding environment. Skin allergies may occur in conjunction with respiratory conditions such as asthma, air allergies, and dust allergies. The severity of these allergic reactions will differ for each individual; some reactions may be limited to the skin, while other people may also have problems with their respiratory system.
Children who experience skin allergies may have dry skin, itchiness all over the body, and red rashes around the elbows, arms, and legs. They may also experience excessive sweating when attempting to scratch those areas. In chronic cases the skin may become harden or bruised. However, some children will grow out of it; symptoms such as rashes may disappear leaving only dryness, for example. Others may have the skin allergies into adult hood; these individuals are also more susceptible to insect bites. This makes insect repellent or long sleeved clothing all the more important, especially when going out at night, in order to prevent skin irritability. It is recommended to keep finger nailed trimmed short, to prevent damage to skin that could lead to infection, use a low PH soap or lotion to moisturize the area and where possible, allow the itchiness subside on its own. Areas of the body where skin irritability is difficult to control skin irritability include the neck, legs, hips, arm pits, and groin.
“Although skin allergies are not contagious, affected individuals will have a poor immunity and are susceptible to itchiness. Scratching such areas can lead to bacterial infections or virus infections, especially in children, and infections which can be contagious, for example between children who are sharing a swimming pool”.
Treatment of skin allergies will depend on the severity of the reaction. For acute episodes it is recommended to soak a cloth in saline solution and apply it to the area to induce dryness. Medication can then be applied. However, medication should be stopped as soon as the rash is healed, and it is recommended not to buy such medication over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription, as some ointments (for example containing steroids) can have long-term side effects. For reactions that are chronic and intermittent, medication should be of the non-steroid category. UV Phototherapy can also be effective in treating rashes and poses less side effects, compared to the use of steroid medication.
Dr. Pimonpun Gritiyarangsan advises that prevention of skin allergies includes getting to know yourself and your body, and engaging in appropriate behavior to avoid known allergens. It is recommended to use a low-ph soap that does not irritate the skin. Do not scrub excessively thinking that you are killing bacteria as it may cause irritability to the skin. After showers, lotions and moisturizing creams are recommended. Also try to avoid acute changes in temperature, such as a very warm shower, or extremely cold air conditioning. Avoid wearing tight clothes, thick clothes, or clothes made from animal skin. Places that have a lot of dust, bugs, especially mosquitoes should be avoided. Furthermore, getting regular exercise, adequate rest can help to boost your body’s immune system and help reduce or prevent skin allergies. If needed, a doctor’s visit is recommended so that a Patch Test may be performed to diagnose and prevent skin allergies.