Allergies can come in many different forms. Food and medication allergies, for example, can be severe and sometimes life threatening; while other allergies, such as hay fever, which typically affects individuals in the spring and summer months, can simply be an annoyance. These kinds of allergies can be treated with OTC allergy medications like Benadryl or Reactine. Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family doctor from Vancouver, British Columbia, may also prescribe patients with nasal sprays, and in cases of severe allergies he will also prescribe patients with an epinephrine auto injector. If you suffer from serious allergies it is important to keep your epinephrine auto injector with you at all times – and, in the event that you have to use the epinephrine injector, it is important to remember to call 911.
Unlike food and medication allergies, which can occur within 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to the allergen, another type of allergy known as Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) can take as long as 48 to 72 hours before you will notice any kind of reaction. While food and medication allergies can affect the throat and your ability to breathe, allergies that are a result of Allergic Contact Dermatitis affect the skin – causing irritation, a rash, hives, and even eczema.
The list of substances that can cause Allergic Contact Dermatitis is long. You can develop it from wearing jewelry (due to nickel), perfumes and other fragrances, from household cleaners, hair dye, and even latex.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis is usually fairly easy to diagnose and is also easy to treat as long as you are aware of what you have been exposed to/what your allergies are, and take extra precautions to avoid exposure to those allergens in the future. Patients will often find relief by using topical creams or topical steroids, and in some cases oral antibiotics may be necessary to prevent or treat secondary infection as a result of ACD. In severe cases, Dr. Ghahary may also prescribe patients with a short course of oral steroids to help reduce inflammation.