Contact dermatitis is a disorder caused by contact with an external substance that triggers an allergic response. The history taken by the allergy/immunology specialist is important for the diagnosis and management of the disease. Common triggers include: sunscreen; Fragrant soaps; Shaving lotions; Rubber; Certain deodorants and perfumes; Bleach; Hand sanitizers; home fragrance diffusers, preservatives and emulsifiers, hair dye, shampoos.
A special test called patch test is indicated in any patient with acute or chronic dermatitis. Patients are typically asked to wear the patch for 48 hours, keeping it dry for that period. The allergist will then ask to return twice to check on the reaction. The patch test conducted by an allergist will determine what caused the reaction so that the allergen or irritant can be avoided in the future. The patient will receive a list of what they are allergic and also a list of products that they can use.
Cough is usually described as chronic if it is present for eight weeks or more. The most common causes of chronic cough are postnasal drainage, asthma and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn. Any or all of these may be the cause of chronic cough, in addition to a number of other less common causes. An allergist can help diagnose the cause(s) of your chronic cough.
Allergists have particular expertise in allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) and sinus infections, which may contribute to postnasal drainage, a common cause of chronic cough. Allergists are also experts at diagnosing and treating asthma, which may be present in 25% of patients with chronic cough. Cough from asthma may be associated with wheeze, shortness of breath or chest tightness and may be worsened by colds, exercise, smoke exposure and laughter, among other things. When to see an allergist*:
* If you have a cough that lasts more than eight weeks.
* If your cough is associated with symptoms of asthma.
* If your cough is associated with nasal symptoms or tobacco use.
* If your cough is severe and affecting your quality of life.
Contact Dermatitis refers to an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact of a substance with the surface of the skin. Unlike atopic dermatitis*, there is not necessarily a pre-disposition to allergic disease.
Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis include:
* Red rash, bumps or a burn-like rash on the skin
* Itchy, painful or burning skin
* Blisters and draining fluid
There are two types of contact dermatitis:
* Irritant Contact Dermatitis is the most common form and is caused when substances such as solvents or other chemicals irritate the skin. The exposure produces red, often more painful than itchy, patches on the involved skin areas.
* Allergic Contact Dermatitis occurs when a substance triggers an immune response. Nickel, perfumes, dyes, rubber (latex) products, topical medications and cosmetics frequently cause allergic contact dermatitis.