Why see an allergist in Big Sky Country, Part III?
Rashes: There are many reasons for rashes. They can be related to irritants, allergies, stings, bites, infections, skin manifestation of an internal disorder like autoimmune diseases or other specific skin disorders.
- Hives (urticaria): these red, round to oval raised itchy welts can occur in up to 25% of the population and while not dangerous, can be very itchy and annoying. This can interfere with sleep, mood and self-esteem. These lesions wax and wane and generally resolve leaving the skin to appear normal. The goal with hives is to find the cause and treat with medications to provide symptom relief.
- Swelling (angioedema): Swelling around the eyes, lips, or tongue are common places for allergic swelling. Swelling frequently accompanies hives (40% of the time) or 15% of the time occurs alone. There are rare forms of angioedema called hereditary angioedema that can be life threatening (throat swelling) if not treated.
- Contact dermatitis: This allergy is from “contact” with the allergen. The “top 10” are nickel, cobalt, gold, poison ivy, chemical (formaldehyde), fragrance (Balsam of Peru), preservatives (Thimerasol, Quaternium-15), medication (neomycin, bacitracin). Yes, I have a test for this!
- Atopic dermatitis (allergic eczema): This itchy skin rash usually occurs in infants and children but can persist into adulthood. The pattern makes it fairly easy to recognize and it frequently is associated with allergies, such that it is part of the “atopic triad” with asthma and allergies.
Infections are bad enough when they are few and far between. However, infections may be a sign of an underlying immune problem when they become severe, recurrent or caused by unusual organisms. Everyone is allowed to have pneumonia. However, 2 or more pneumonias in a year, IV antibiotics to clear an infection, 4 or more ear infections in 1 year, 2 or more serious sinus infections in 1 year, a family history of primary immune deficiency may indicate a primary immune deficiency. The 10 Warning Signs of Primary Immune Deficiency can be found at: http://www.info4pi.org/aboutPI/index.cfm?section=aboutPI&content=warningsigns While these aren’t allergies, your allergist/IMMUNOLOGIST can assess for immune problems.
If your rash is itchy and not resolving, consider seeing an allergist or dermatologist [I can recommend a good one!) for help.
This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.