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Information on Contact Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a medical condition which involves the inflammation of the skin. Contact dermatitis is a localized irritation, inflammatory condition or rash which is triggered exclusively by contact with some foreign substance. Substances which are commonly associated with the occurrence of contact dermatitis include latex rubber, industrial chemicals, perfumes, cosmetics, detergents, cleaning solutions, some types of metal, certain food items and numerous different sorts of plants such as poison ivy. Contact dermatitis can easily be confused with another type of dermatitis, the one known as allergic contact dermatitis.

Allergic dermatitis is commonly confined to the area touched by the allergen, while the irritant dermatitis may spread to other areas of the skin. The common symptoms of contact dermatitis include itchiness, burning sensations, painful sensations, blisters, redness of the skin, hives, skin rash and several others. The complete reaction to the irritant may last up to 4 weeks in some cases.

It is very important to determine what actually triggers the dermatitis and then avoid the triggering factors as much as possible. If complete avoidance is not possible, one should protect the skin from the irritating trigger as much as possible. Protective clothing such as gloves, long pants and long sleeves can be of great help in protection from the irritants and allergens. One should be properly protected when working outdoors or at industrial sites, because these locations include much more potential triggering factors than any other location. When spending time outdoors, one should avoid poison sumac, poison oak and poison ivy as much as possible. If the exposure occurs, the affected areas need to be washed with soap and cool water. Paying a visit to a dermatologist or an allergist may be a very good idea.
Self-Care at Home
Once again, it is very important to avoid contact with all the triggering factors. If the exposure does occur, the affected areas of the skin need to be washed with soap and cool water, while the offending substances need to be removed as soon as possible. If a person experiences the development of blisters, he or she should apply cold moist compresses for half an hour three times per day. Itchiness can be annoying but it can be relieved by cool oatmeal baths and topical applications of Calamine lotion. It can also be relieved by taking certain types of oral antihistamines. Hydrocortisone creams can also be of great help in some cases.

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