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Is It Possible To Have A Skin Allergy To Sunlight?

A small number of people develop rashes after exposure to sunlight. There are a number of syndromes in which exposure to ultraviolet light, either outdoors or in a tanning salon, results in a rash. Some patients only experience rashes from sun exposure when they are taking an oral medication, such as an antibiotic.The rash often […]

How Should Contact Dermatitis Be Treated?

Treatment of irritant contact dermatitis usually involves the cessation of the aggravating activity, initiation of intensive therapy with moisturizers, and if necessary, a short course of topical steroids. Long-term prevention of the rash may be difficult, especially in individuals who repeatedly wash their hands during work, such as nurses and physicians. In these people, use […]

What Is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a broad term referring to an inflammatory condition of the skin caused by direct contact with an external substance. Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type of contact dermatitis and involves inflammation resulting from contact with acids, alkaline materials (such as soaps and detergents), solvents, or other chemicals. People who wash […]

Is This Eczema? Itch On Arms And Legs?

My Child Has Rough, Dry Bumps That Don’t Itch On Her Upper Arms And Legs. Is This Eczema? Rashes that do not itch are not usually eczema. Rough, dry bumps that feel and look like sandpaper and that occur on the upper arms, legs, and faces of children are commonly due to  keratosis pilaris (KP). […]

What Can I Do About My Child’s Eczema?

In any patient with atopic dermatitis, the first step is to moisturize the skin thoroughly. In the past, physicians routinely recommended avoidance of bathing, believing that it caused further drying of the skin. Most experts now believe that daily bathing is very helpful in restoring moisture to the skin. To help accomplish this, I encourage […]

What is Allergic Eczema?

Allergic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic itchy skin rash. Atopic dermatitis most often begins in infancy or early childhood and resolves or improves in most cases by age 10 years. In a minority of cases, it can continue into adulthood or may first appear later in life. This rash primarily involves […]

Are There Any Medications I Should Avoid If I Have Hives Or Allergic Swelling?

It has been estimated that up to one-third of patients with chronic hives and/or angioedema have a sensitivity to aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In these patients, ingestion of these medications leads to acute worsening of their hives and/or angioedema. A small number of these patients will experience more serious systemic reactions following […]

I’ve Had Hives For 6 Months, What’s Causing Them?

I’ve Had Hives For 6 Months, And My Doctor Has Not Been Able To Find Out What’s Causing Them. Will They Last For The Rest Of My Life? Fortunately, chronic idiopathic urticaria spontaneously resolves over time in the vast majority of patients. After 1 year, 80% of cases will spontaneously resolve; by 2 years, 90% […]

What Treatments Work Best For Hives?

Initial treatment of acute and chronic hives with or with-out angioedema relies upon oral H1 antihistamines. For many years, physicians believed that the older, sedating antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and hydrox-yzine, were more effective for treating hives than the newer nonsedating medications. However, a great body of research has demonstrated that this is not the […]

Which Tests Are Most Important In Determining The Causes Of Chronic Hives?

The evaluation of chronic hives should always begin with a thorough medical history and physical examination; however, in most cases a cause will not be identified. Most physicians will order a general blood panel, including a complete blood count and white cell differential, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, chemistry panel, thyroid panel, and urinalysis, in order to […]

What Causes Hives?

Hives and angioedema can be divided into two categories based upon the duration of symptoms: acute and chronic. Acute hives are defined as lesions that come and go for a period of 6 weeks or less, and frequently the outbreak may last for just a few hours or days. Hives that last for a few […]

What Are Hives?

Hives, also called “urticaria,” is a type of skin rash that appears as a red, raised welt ranging in size from half an inch to 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Most of the time, hives are intensely itchy but occasionally there can be a burning quality. Typically, an individual hive lesion will last anywhere […]

How Is Latex Allergy Treated?

After A Dental Cleaning, I Developed Swelling Of My Mouth. I Had Similar Problems While Blowing Up Balloons. What Does This Indicate? These two events both involved oral contact with latex rubber. Latex allergy is caused by the development of IgE antibodies to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, a product manufactured from a […]

Should I Continue To Avoid Penicillin Allergy As An Adult?

I Was Told That I Had A Penicillin Allergy As A Baby. Should I Continue To Avoid It As An Adult? At least 10% of people in the United States believe they are allergic to penicillin based on reports from their parents that they had reactions as infants. While many of these patients did have […]

If I Am Allergic To Aspirin, Is There Any Way I Can Take It?

Aspirin, which is a type of medication known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID), is one of the most commonly used medicines in the world and a very important agent in preventing heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin hypersensitivity usually takes two principal forms: aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) and systemic reactions. AERD is the most common […]

Will A Skin Test Tell Me If I Am Allergic To A Medication?

Currently, there are very few valid skin tests for the diagnosis of drug allergy. Drugs for which there are accepted testing protocols include penicillin and Amoxicillin, local anesthetics, muscle relaxants  for anesthesia (suxamethonium), and insulin. While other drugs may be tested, there is less experience with these agents and the results may be more difficult […]

If I Am Allergic To Penicillin, Will I Be Allergic To Other Antibiotics?

Penicillin and its derivatives (e.g., amoxicillin, methicillin, and dicloxacillin) are the most commonly encountered antibiotics resulting in allergic reactions. These drugs contain a structure referred to as the beta-lactam ring, which is also present in other classes of antibiotics, including cephalosporins (e.g., cephalexin, cefuroxime), carbapenems (imipenem and meropenem, which are both intravenous drugs), and monobactams […]

Am I Allergic To Novacaine?

I Received A Novacaine Shot From My Dentist And Felt Very Dizzy And Sick To My Stomach. Am I Allergic To Novacaine? True allergic reactions to local anesthetics such as lidocaine (Novacaine) are extremely rare; in fact, some experts doubt that these substances are capable of causing true allergic reactions. Most often, patients will experience […]

What Is A Drug Allergy, And What Are The Most Common Symptoms?

Adverse effects from drugs are extremely common and can be divided into two broad categories. Drug intolerance represents a pharmacologic effect of a medication that creates undesirable symptoms. A good example is nausea and vomiting after taking codeine cough syrup or insomnia after using pseudoephedrine. These intolerances do not represent allergies and will be relatively […]

Do Allergy Shots Work For Insect Allergy?

Allergy shots for insect stings, also called venom immunotherapy, are the most effective known treatment to prevent allergic reactions to stings from honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps, and fire ants. Venom immunotherapy is offered to all patients who have had anaphylaxis following a sting and to adults who have had acute hives after a […]

How Can I Keep From Getting Stung In The Future?

For an allergic patient, there are a number of ways to prevent future insect stings. Suggestions include: Avoid using perfumes, scented soaps, and other sweet or pungent body products. Avoid wearing bright colors that might attract bees. Stay away from blooming flowers when you are out-doors. Avoid eating sweet foods while your are outdoors. Consider […]

If I Have A History Of Severe Bee Sting Allergy?

What Should I Do The Next Time I Am Stung? If bees are flying around you after the sting, always stay calm and avoid swatting at them; this will encourage additional stings. After the sting, you should quickly leave the area. When a bee stings, it releases a chemical that attracts other bees that may […]

I Was Stung By A Bee Recently. Do I Need To Be Allergy Tested?

The first step in establishing whether a patient is allergic to insect stings is a detailed history. Once the type of insect and severity of the reaction have been characterized, allergy skin testing may be performed to confirm whether or not the patient is allergic to any of the stinging insects. All people, regardless of […]

How Do I Know What Type Of Insect Stung Me?

It is often very difficult to determine the source of a sting. This is why it is recommended that patients who have experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting undergo testing to a complete panel of stinging insects. Despite this difficulty, there are some clues that will help a victim of a sting determine […]

Which Insects Can Cause Insect Sting Allergy, And What Are The Symptoms?

Several insects belonging to order Hymenoptera are capable of injecting venom into humans and animals by stinging or biting. These insects include honeybees, bumblebees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ants, all of which are currently found in the United States as well as in most other land areas of the globe. Their venom, which […]

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