Category Archives: Skin Allergies

How to Deal with Mango Allergy

How to Deal with Mango Allergy

Mango is extremely popular in the USA as well as other countries. It was cultivated in India several centuries ago, and today it is grown in various climates, including Mexico, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Spain and Australia. This fruit can be consumed in different forms, such as juices, jams, smoothies, etc. Not many people have an allergic reaction to this fruit, but it may occur in three different ways.


Anaphylactic Reaction to Mango

Anaphylactic reaction to mango is a severe condition caused by the IgE antibody that requires urgent medical help. Symptoms of anaphylactic reaction occur right away after eating a mango. The following are typical symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  • Chest tightness;
  • Urticarial;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Wheezing;
  • Angioedema, etc.

Anaphylactic reaction to mango and other products is treated in the same way. Severe reactions to this fruit can be diagnosed with the help of blood or skin tests. In the USA, a “prick-prick” method is used, when a special device is pushed into a fresh fruit and then applied to the skin. The result will be seen in about 20 minutes. Positive reaction will occur in the form of a wheal and redness.

People with such a severe reaction to eating mango should avoid consuming this fruit. It is important to remember that mango can be used in different products like fruit smoothies, and it is also possible to consume products that have the same cross-reactivity as mango, which means that injectable epinephrine should always be available in case of occurrence of this allergic reaction.

Skin Reaction to Mango

Contact dermatitis is another reaction that you may experience after eating a mango. It usually occurs on the face within several hours after eating the fruit and may last for several days. You can find itchy blisters on your skin that may peel within the next several days. Such reaction is not caused by IgE antibodies, but by CD4+ T cells (white blood cells) as a reaction to some chemicals in mango peel or other parts of the fruit. Urushiol is one of those chemicals that may cause contact dermatitis, and it is also present in a range of plants, including poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. So, if you have contact dermatitis to mango, you should also avoid contacting these plants.

Although contact dermatitis is not life-threatening or dangerous to health, it does make people feel uncomfortable. This reaction to mango is treated with systemic or topical corticosteroids, which depends on its severity. Usually, there is no need to perform any tests to diagnose this reaction if a person contacts a healthcare provider who will be able to observe the reaction on his/her face. At the same time, your doctor may recommend you to perform patch testing, which means that a piece of fruit will be applied to your skin. This is a fast and painless procedure that allows gathering more information about the problem.

OAS to Mangoes

OAS stands for oral allergy syndrome, which is an allergic reaction activated by IgE (the same as anaphylaxis) with mild symptoms, including burning, itching and fullness of the mouth. It typically occurs instantly after eating a mango, and it takes only several minutes to stop the reaction if the right treatment is used. It is possible that OAS develops into anaphylaxis, but this happens rarely. In most cases, mango protein causing an allergy is broken down by the saliva of a person, and all the symptoms of an allergy occur only in the mouth.
It is also possible to experience OAS due to similarities between mango proteins and latex protein or pollens. Pollen allergy allows suspecting that a person is likely to have an allergic reaction to tree or weed pollen. OAS symptoms may also occur due to latex allergy after eating a mango.

OAS to mango may be diagnosed clinically if a person who has an allergy to pollen or latex starts experiencing OAS symptoms after consuming a mango. Additionally, a “prick-prick” method can be used for diagnosis of this condition.
Although OAS usually does not lead to any severe consequences, people with this allergic reaction are recommended to avoid eating mango. There is a 10% possibility that OAS may develop into anaphylaxis, which should be avoided by all means.

Common Causes of Winter Allergies

Common Causes of Winter Allergies

Winter allergies are not so common compared to those during other seasons. However, there are many people around the country who experience severe allergy symptoms in winter. Besides the fact that wintertime is the season of mountain cedar pollination, there are a lot of other triggers present during this time that can be the cause of the annoying symptoms. These triggers include indoor christmas trees, outdoor mold, and other irritants like cold and wind that are also causing nasal symptoms. You may also experience a condition known as cold urticaria – hives caused by cold temperatures.  

 

Mountain Cedar Pollen as an Allergy Trigger

Mountain cedar, which is also known as ashe juniper or blueberry juniper, is a drought-tolerant evergreen tree of the Cupressaceae family. It mainly grows in South and Central Texas and can also be found in northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States. In these areas, mountain cedar is almost the only pollen source in winter. The tree’s pollination season starts in December and lasts until the end of March. Mountain cedar usually pollinates very intensely creating large clouds of pollen grains that remind clouds of smoke.

 

An allergic reaction caused by mountain cedar pollen is typically referred to as “cedar fever”. The symptoms of cedar fever are similar to those of hay fever. They include sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, as well as itchiness in the eyes and nose. Although this type of allergy is called “fever”, the condition is not related to an actual fever.

 

The pollen of mountain cedar is very similar to the pollen of other trees of this family, such as juniper and cypress trees., which are found in other parts of the United States of America.  Unlike mountain cedar, the latter pollinate in spring. People allergic to mountain cedar pollen are also allergic to the pollen of juniper and cypress trees.

 

Mold as a Winter Allergy Trigger

People allergic to mold may experience annoying symptoms during the wintertime. Airborne molds, that are present as indoors as outdoors, are one of the most common triggers of allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms. Outdoors molds are usually present in places with colder climates, normally from the late winter to early spring.  On rainy days, the concentration of molds in the air is even higher.

 

Although indoor molds can be present year round and their levels normally depend on the humidity inside the home, the increased levels of outdoor mold lead to higher indoor mold levels, as well. This means that indoor molds are often caused by the the outside environment.

Christmas Trees as an Allergy Trigger

Each year many people notice worsening of their allergy and asthma symptoms during Christmas holidays, when they bring a fresh pine tree indoors. For years, specialists have suspected that Christmas trees might be causing or worsening allergy symptoms. However, it is not clear why. Pollen, mold spores, and odors emitted from the tree are among the potential reasons.  

 

Cold Weather as a Cause of Runny Nose

When the weather gets colder, more and more people are having a runny nose. The reason why you may experience this symptom is normally vasomotor rhinitis. This is a non-allergic form of rhinitis, whose symptoms may include a runny nose, post-nasal drip and nasal congestion. This condition is usually caused by temperature changes, windy weather, humidity level changes, strong odors, perfumes, or smoke.

 

Cold as a Cause of Urticaria

In some people, exposure to the cold may cause the condition known as cold urticaria (cold hives). It is a form of physical urticaria that occurs as a result of cold exposure, including cold weather, cold food and drinks, and cold water.

Eyelid Dermatitis: What Is It Caused by and How Is It Treated?

Eyelid Dermatitis: What Is It Caused by and How Is It Treated?

Since the skin over the eyelids is thin and very sensitive, various rashes are likely to develop in that area. Many people around the world, especially women, experience eyelid rashes as result of various allergic reactions or autoimmune diseases. In most cases, the rash is triggered by allergens contained in cosmetics or hair care products that patients use regularly.

Contact Dermatitis

One of the most common forms of eyelid rashes is contact dermatitis. This disease often occurs as a result of certain eye make-up  products (for instance, eyeshadow, mascara or concealer) applied directly to the area of eyelids. Various substances contained in eye cosmetics cause an allergic reaction leading to the rash.

The substances causing eyelid dermatitis include antigens like formaldehyde or quaternium-15, as well as nickel or cobalt which are sometimes present in eye cosmetics of a green or blue color. In addition, nickel contained in eyelash curlers also may trigger the allergy.

Besides cosmetics that are applied directly to the eyelids, various hair care products used on the scalp may also lead to an allergic reaction. Chemicals in shampoos, conditioners, hair dye, hair sprays and other products may cause the irritation of eyelids. The rash does not usually affect the scalp, since the skin of this area is very thick. Hair sprays, however, may cause the eyelid rash, since the product may easily get on the eyelids, while you are applying it.

Other potential causes of eyelid dermatitis are chemicals present on the hands, such as nail polish or nail hardeners. These chemicals often get transferred to the eyelids when you touch your face.

 

Atopic Dermatitis

Eyelid dermatitis can often result from atopic dermatitis caused by allergies to pollens, pet dander, molds and dust mites. Although atopic dermatitis usually affects various areas of the body, including the flexural surfaces, it may occur on the eyelids alone, which is more common among adults.

Atopic dermatitis caused by food allergies can also affect the area of the face and eyelids, especially in children.

 

Other Diseases Causes Eyelid Rash

As it mentioned earlier, eyelid rash may also be caused by other conditions including autoimmune conditions like dermatomyositis or systemic lupus erythematosus. When the eyelid rash is caused by an autoimmune disease, there are normally other symptoms present as well. These may include weight loss, fevers, fatigue, muscle pain, and night sweats.

 

Eyelid Rash Treatment

Eyelid rash caused by allergic reactions, such as contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, can be treated by certain skin creams. For example, topical steroids are among the most common treatments of eczema these days. However, due to the fact that the skin on the eyelids is sensitive and, therefore, susceptible to the side effects of medicines, the eyelid rash should be treated only with low potency topical steroids (e.g. over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream), for a short period and with extreme caution. Make sure to prevent topical steroids from getting into your eyes, since they may cause some serious side effects like glaucoma or cataract.

There are also other topicals that can be used for the treatment of eyelid dermatitis, such as topical calcineurin inhibitors, Elidel or Protopic. These are FDA-approved medications that treat atopic dermatitis in adults and children older than 2 years of age. These alternative medications can be considered safer than topical steroids, as they do not cause as many side effects as the latter do, which is why they can be used on any skin, including sensitive areas. Besides, these topicals can be used for prolonged periods without  their effectiveness. Being lost

Immunotherapy for Atopic Dermatitis

Immunotherapy for Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, more commonly referred to as eczema, is one of the basic forms of allergic reactions. It usually occurs in infants and children younger than 5 years of age. The majority of people affected by atopic dermatitis are allergic to certain substances. The rash  of atopic dermatitis is usually caused by allergens present in the environment, such as pollen, molds, pet dander and dust mites, as well as in foods.

Development of allergic rhinitis and asthma is common in children with atopic dermatitis. While allergic rhinitis occurs rather at school age, asthma is more likely to develop by adolescence. This progression of the disease is known as atopic march.

There are various treatment options available for atopic dermatitis, including the avoidance of allergic triggers, as well as the use of medications. In addition, according to recent studies, atopic dermatitis can be also successfully treated with immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy involves taking allergy shots and allergy drops. It has been used for years to treat such allergic diseases as allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, or allergic asthma. This type of treatment is the only option that can possibly cure the disease.

Atopic Dermatitis and Allergy Shots

Over the past years, several research studies have explored the atopic dermatitis treating properties of allergy shots. Some of these studies have shown that the use of the allergy shots can actually help to reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, based on the SCORAD (Scoring Atopic Dermatitis) numbers. Allergy shots can also help decrease the amount of topical steroids that are required for the treatment.

Interestingly, research indicated that the treatment with allergy shots worked best for severe cases of atopic dermatitis and for atopic dermatitis caused by dust mites.

Atopic Dermatitis and Allergy Drops

Although this method of allergy treatment has been used for decades in various countries including the European countries, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved allergy drops in the United States.

Sublingual immunotherapy involves the use of allergy drops – the substance to which a patient is allergic is placed under the person’s tongue. The effects of allergy drops are similar to those of allergy shots. They include reducing the symptoms of allergy, decreasing the number of topical steroids needed, as well as potentially curing the allergy. Allergy drops are widely used for treating allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and allergic asthma.

The use of allergy drops for atopic dermatitis is not common. However, some studies have found that allergy drops may be effective for atopic dermatitis triggered by dust mite allergy. This applies only to mild to moderate atopic dermatitis – allergy drops do not work for severe atopic dermatitis.

How Safe Is Immunotherapy for Atopic Dermatitis?

Allergy drops are a safe treatment that has a very low risk of anaphylaxis. They are traditionally given at home. Immunotherapy with allergy shots, however, should be monitored in a physician’s office for about half an hour, due to the possibility of anaphylaxis.

Despite the fact that immunotherapy is a relatively safe and effective treatment option for atopic dermatitis, about one fifth of patients experienced complications after taking allergy shots or drops.

Topical Steroids for Skin Diseases

Topical Steroids for Skin Diseases

Many types of skin allergies, including eczema, can be treated with topical steroids. Topical steroids
are anti-inflammatory medications that help to reduce itching, flaking and oozing on the skin. They
have to be applied to skin daily, one or more times a day.

Topical steroids are normally prescribed for patients with eczema that cannot be treated with skin
moisturizers alone.

Types of Topical Steroids

There are many types of topical steroids, as well as packages in which the medications are available.
Some topical steroids can be stronger than others, or come in higher concentrations. They are also
available in different topical formulations like creams, lotions, ointments, etc.

Topical steroids can also be available both by prescription and over the counter. An example of an
over-the- counter topical steroid is hydrocortisone acetate 1% cream.

Lotion, Cream or Ointment?

The potency of topical steroids often depends on how the medication is packaged. The same topical
steroid may have diverse levels of potency, when placed in different formulations. The strongest
type of medications containing topical steroids are ointments, which are followed by creams,
lotions, solutions, gels, and sprays being the lightest option.

Topical Steroids for Children

Only lower potency topical steroids are recommended to be used on children, since their skin is
more sensitive and, therefore, more prone to various adverse reactions caused by the medications.
Nowadays, there are two topical steroids more often recommended for use in children due to the fact
that the less of the medication is absorbed into the body and they can be used only once a day. These
topical steroids are mometasone furoate (marketed as Elocon) and fluticasone propionate (marketed
as Cutivate). The latter is the only topical steroid, approved for the Food and Drug Administration
for infants from 3 months of age.

Topical Steroids for Sensitive Areas of the Skin

Topical steroids may affect the sensitive skin on the face causing some undesirable side effects. Besides,
the medication may lead to glaucoma or cataract formation, if it gets into the eyes. Therefore, if you
decide to treat eczema on the face skin with topical steroids, it is recommended to apply the smallest
amount of the lowest potency topical steroids for the shortest period of time possible.
Other areas of the body that are more prone to the topical steroids’ side effects include the areas with
thinner skin like eyelids, genitals, etc., as well as the areas of skin folds like the armpits, groin, or under
the breasts in women. These areas of the body should be also treated with caution and only with low
potency topical steroids.

Topical Steroids’ Side Effects

Topical steroids usually cause side effects on the areas where the medication is applied.

Side effects from topical steroids are most often seen on the areas of skin where the medication is
applied. Common side effects of topical steroids include irritation, redness, burning, peeling and
thinning of the skin, pigmentation, blood vessel formation, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, acne,
delayed wound healing ability, increased susceptibility to skin infections, as well as contact
dermatitis caused by the substance itself.

When the body absorbs a great amount of topical steroids, the medication may sometimes cause a
systemic effect which includes the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. To avoid the risk of
developing this condition, it is recommended not to use the medication over large areas of the skin,
in the areas of sensitive skin, or for extended periods of time.

The probability of the development of the topical steroids’ side effects also depends on the potency
of the corticosteroid, and whether an occlusion dressing is applied over the steroid.

Topical Steroids Classified by Potency

Experts usually separate topical steroids into seven categories based on their level of potency. The
categories, from the strongest to the weakest, are presented below:

Category 1: Temovate (clobetasol) 0.05% cream and ointment, Diprolene (betamethasone) 0.05%
cream and ointment.
Category 2: Lidex (fluocinonide) 0.05% available in any formulation, Topicort (desoximetasone)
0.25% cream, gel, or ointment, and Elocon (mometasone furoate) 0.1% ointment.
Category 3: Topicort (desoximetasone) 0.05% cream, Cutivate (fluticasone proprionate) 0.005%
ointment.
Category 4: Westcort (hydrocortisone valerate) 0.2% ointment, Kenalog (triamcinolone) 0.1%
cream, Elocon (mometasone furoate) 0.1% cream.
Category 5: Cutivate (fluticasone proprionate) 0.05% cream, Westcort (hydrocortisone valerate)
0.2% cream.
Category 6: Desonate (desonide) 0.05% cream.
Category 7: Cortaid (hydrocortisone acetate), available in various forms and concentrations.

OTC Hydrocortisone Cream or Prescription Topical Steroids?

Depending on the severity of the skin disease, you may use over-the- counter hydrocortisone cream
or you may need a prescription medication. Hydrocortisone creams are often effective for mild cases
of condition. However, if the symptoms are severe and long-lasting, you may need a stronger
medication available under prescription.

It is important to remember that prescription topical steroids should only be used by people they are
prescribed for and by anyone else. This is to avoid the risks of undesirable side effects of the
medication.

What Do Experts Know About Sun Allergy?

What Do Experts Know About Sun Allergy?

There are people who, when exposed to sunlight, experience symptoms, similar to those of an allergic reaction: itching or burning sensation, gives, or even rashes. This makes people think they have a sun allergy.

In fact, only a few of them truly have a hereditary type of sun allergy, and therefore, are more sensitive to sunlight.

There are certain medications and topical agents that may cause an allergy-like reaction on the skin after exposure to the sun. In most cases of “sun allergy”, the skin’s reaction to sun exposure occurs as result of the use of such medications.

Skin’s reaction to sunlight usually occurs on the open areas of the skin surface that are easily accessible to the sun. The symptoms of the reaction include the presence of blisters or hives, red skin, itchiness or pain, tiny bumps, areas of scaling, crusting or bleeding skin.

Sun-Induced Hives

Sun-induced hives, also known as solar urticaria, is a skin condition in which exposure to the sunlight leads to development of hives. Such symptoms include itchy, red skin and hives on the areas exposed to the sun.

The symptoms of solar urticaria are quite similar to the symptoms of a sunburn. The main difference between the two is the length of time the condition is present. Unlike sunburn, that occurs after several hours of sun exposure and lasts for several days, solar urticaria can occur within a few minutes of sun exposure and last for less than one day.

Cholinergic Urticaria

Another form of chronic hives is cholinergic urticaria, more commonly known as heat urticaria. This type of hives may occur as a result of an increase in body temperature, including hot showers, exercise, spicy food, etc. Some people with cholinergic urticaria can develop the symptoms after experiencing strong emotions.

Photo-Contact Dermatitis

Various skin products may be causing allergy, including sunscreens. There are people whose skin may react to sunscreen and develop the symptoms of contact dermatitis. The rash may occur anywhere on the areas of the skin where the product was applied. However, exposure to the sunlight increases the probability of an allergic reaction. This condition is called photo-contact dermatitis.

Photo-contact dermatitis normally affect the areas of the skin such as the face, the area of the upper chest, the backs of the hands and forearms. These areas are usually the most sun-exposed.

Other Causes of Sun Sensitivity

An allergy-like reaction of the skin triggered by sunlight may also be caused by other diseases, including porphyria or systemic lupus erythematosus, which are very serious medical conditions. This is why it is important to consult a doctor, if you experience any allergic symptoms after the sun exposure.

Treatment of Sun Allergy

In the majority of cases, the conditions that are referred to as sun allergy resolve on their own with time. To alleviate the symptoms, you may use some soothing skin balms available over-the-counter, for instance, calamine lotion or aloe vera.

However, more serious cases of sun allergy are also possible. Those can be treated with such medications as ibuprofen, or even systemic or topical steroids. To avoid the development of a severe reaction to sunlight, it is recommended to minimize the time you spend outdoors, while the sunlight is strongest, or use covering to protect your skin.

What Is the Difference Between Atopic Dermatitis and Contact Dermatitis?

What Is the Difference Between Atopic Dermatitis and Contact Dermatitis?

Normally, you can easily tell the difference between atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. However, in some cases it is not so obvious. It is also possible that both conditions occur at the same time, which makes it even more difficult to diagnose the correct disease.

Although atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis may be quite similar in certain aspects, they also have a number of significant differences.

Similarities Between the Conditions

One of the main similarities between atopic and contact dermatitis is that they both cause rash, or eczema. Although the term eczema is more commonly associated with atopic dermatitis, it actually can be used to describe any skin condition causing rash, including contact dermatitis. Experts determine three different phases of eczema: acute eczema, sub-acute eczema and chronic eczema.

Acute eczema is a condition characterized by inflamed skin with itchy blisters. Sub-acute eczema symptoms include a dry, itchy, flaky, crusting, or oozing of the skin. Chronic eczema implies lichenification – leathery thickening of the skin caused by chronic scratching.

A biopsy of the skin is unlikely to help make a correct diagnosis. Both diseases look similar under a microscope – swelling of epidermal skin cells visually reminding a sponge, which is why a biopsy will not be able to differentiate between the two.

Differences Between the Conditions

The most significant distinction between atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis lies in a patient’s susceptibility to developing the disease.

Atopic dermatitis often implies a presence of a genetic mutation in filaggrin – a protein in the skin. This mutation causes the barriers between the epidermal skin cells to break down, leading to dehydration of the skin and letting various aeroallergens, such as pet dander or dust mites, affect the skin.

Penetration of the allergens into the skin is followed by an allergic inflammation and strong itchiness of the skin. Scratching the skin is not recommended, as it leads to more inflammation and stronger itchiness.

In people, susceptible to developing an allergy, eczema may occur after eating a food they are allergic to. This causes migration of T-lymphocytes to the skin, resulting in allergic inflammation. People without an underlying propensity for allergy are unlikely to experience atopic dermatitis.

Unlike atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis occurs as a result of the skin’s reaction to a direct chemical exposure. The most common contact dermatitis trigger is poison oak whose exposure on the skin leads to an allergic reaction in approximately 90 percent of population. Other chemicals causing contact dermatitis include nickel, cosmetic products, and hair dye.

Contact dermatitis occurs in people, whose T-lymphocytes recognize a chemical as a foreign substance, and therefore, react to it.

Another significant difference between atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis is the age of a person that develops a condition. While contact dermatitis can occur at any age, atopic dermatitis mostly affects infants and young children.

Besides, the distinction between the conditions can be told based on the location of the rash caused by them.

Atopic dermatitis, eczema, appears in the areas of the skin where a person scratches, while contact dermatitis can occur anywhere throughout the body, depending where the skin was exposed to a chemical.

Common locations of the skin affected by atopic dermatitis include mostly flexural locations, such as the outer side of the elbows, behind the knees, front side of the neck, behind the ears, wrist folds, and ankles, since these areas are easy to scratch.

Making a Diagnosis

Since atopic dermatitis is an allergic rash, a person can be diagnosed with this condition, if such symptoms as eczema and itching are present, and the person is susceptible to allergies. The presence of allergies can be determined with a help of skin tests and blood tests.

Unlike atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis is not caused by an allergy. It results from the condition known as T-lymphocyte mediated delayed-type hypersensitivity. The diagnosis of contact dermatitis can be made, if a patient experiences eczema, usually itchy, and it is possible to identify the trigger by conducting patch tests.

What Should You Know About Brachioradial Pruritus?

What Should You Know About Brachioradial Pruritus?

Itching (pruritus) is an unpleasant feeling that can be extremely disturbing, especially at night, when you are trying to sleep. Below, you will find an information about such type of itching as brachioradial pruritus, including its causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Pruritus is a medical term for a condition more commonly known as itching, and it can be defined as an unpleasant sensation on the surface of the skin that causes an instant need to scratch. There are two types of pruritus: localized, which only affects a certain are of the skin, and generalized, which is felt all over the body. In addition, itching may appear either with or without an associated rash. When the condition is caused by the rash, it will most likely be cured. However, non-rash pruritus that occurs without any rash is more difficult to treat, since the cause is more difficult to determine.

In any case, pruritus is an annoying and debilitating skin condition that may have a great impact on a person’s quality of life.

Itching and Pain

Such sensations as itching and pain are closely related to each other, as their associated signals are transmitted to the brain by the same group of nerves. Scratching the area of skin that itches results in that same area becoming even itchier, which in turn causes the need to scratch more. There are various potential causes of itching from a certain problem with skin, such as skin allergy, to an underlying systemic disease. The latter normally causes generalized pruritus, rather than localized.

Brachioradial Pruritus: Symptoms and Causes

Brachioradial pruritus is a type of localized pruritus typically affecting the brachioradialis muscle – the area of the skin from the shoulder to the forearm.

The category of population most commonly affected by brachioradial pruritus includes middle-aged women living in warm climates. However, men of any ages, as well as people all over the world may experience the condition, too.

Tingling, burning and itching on the top of the arm(s) are three major symptoms of brachioradial pruritus. The sensations may also extend to the shoulder and upper back.

Scratching the skin is very unlikely to help relieve the itch. In fact, the symptoms may become worse, if the affected skin is scratched. Therefore, it is important to make a correct diagnosis of the condition to be able to apply a proper treatment.

It is not completely understood what exactly causes brachioradial pruritus. However, some experts tend to connect the condition with chronic exposure to solar radiation and cervical spine disease.

Connection between brachioradial pruritus and chronic sun exposure may be explained by the fact that chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation often causes the damage of nerve fibers inside the skin making the nerves more sensitive to itching. Brachioradial pruritus symptoms are also considered to be potentially caused by the compression of the nerves that exit the spinal cord from the cervical spine in the neck.

Therefore, people with cervical spine disease chronically exposed to the solar radiation are most likely to develop brachioradial pruritus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In fact, it is difficult to find the right treatment for brachioradial pruritus symptoms, as it is difficult to make a correct diagnosis.

Since the symptoms are similar to those of other skin conditions causing itches, you may be prescribed various itching treatment medications, such as oral antihistamines or topical corticosteroids. However, these options are not effective against brachioradial pruritus. Neither is the application of heat, which actually may worsen the symptoms. On the other hand, the application of cold, e.g. ice packs, can reduce the symptoms for a certain period.

A good dermatologist can often diagnose brachioradial pruritus correctly, based on such factors as location of the itching, ineffectiveness of usual treatments for itching, as well as temporary relief due to the application ice packs.

In addition, the diagnosis of brachioradial pruritus may be considered based on the x-rays of the cervical spine showing degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis.

Specialist have been trying to treat brachioradial pruritus by various therapies, some of which have shown to be successful and some not.  Thus, some of the most effective treatments available for this condition include:

  • Topical capsaicin cream. This is the most commonly used and effective option; however, the regular use of the cream can cause skin irritation.
  • Cervical spine manipulation therapy performed by a chiropractor.
  • Oral medications for nerve pain (gabapentin) and for seizures (carbamazepine, lamotrigine).

How Itching Is Related to Skin Allergies?

How Itching Is Related to Skin Allergies?

Rashes and itching of the skin are the most common symptoms of skin allergies. However, not all the conditions that are causing this kind of symptoms are related to an allergy. In fact, there are various dermatologic diseases that lead to an itchy rash, including fungal, bacterial, and viral infections, insect bites, as well as autoimmune conditions.

Nevertheless, allergic diseases remain the major cause of skin rashes. There are many types of skin allergies, while the most commonly occurring are atopic dermatitis, hives, and contact dermatitis.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is an allergic skin disease that is more commonly referred to as “eczema”. This type of allergy mostly affects young children, though it might also occur in adolescents and adults. Eczema, the rash caused by atopic dermatitis, is normally triggered by scratching and appears in the areas of the skin that are scratched. Thus, in infants, eczema affects the areas of the chest, cheeks, and scalp, while older children and adults may experience it on the inner side of the elbows and behind the knees. In some cases, the rash also occurs on the face, neck, hands, feet, or back.

The rash caused by atopic dermatitis is red-colored, with small itching, flaking and oozing blisters. Itchiness causes a strong need to scratch, which often leads to excoriations and broken skin.

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be treated at home. However, specialists recommend visiting an allergist or immunologist for a thorough evaluation, since atopic dermatitis has been related to food allergies in children.

Urticaria and Angioedema

Urticaria is another type of skin allergies, which unlike atopic dermatitis, can occur at any age. The condition is more commonly known as hives. It causes an itchy rash that comes in the form of raised red bumps of various sizes and shapes. The rash is temporary, usually lasting only for a few minutes or a few hours.

The itching caused by the rash can be extremely annoying. However, excoriations and areas of broken skin caused by aggressive scratching are not typical for urticaria.

There are two types of urticaria: acute, that lasts less than six weeks, and chronic, that lasts more than six weeks. In certain cases, urticaria is accompanied by another condition called angioedema.

Angioedema is a medical term for swelling, and it usually affects the lips, eyes, hands or feet. It causes burning and tingling sensation in the affected areas. Sometimes, angioedema may lead to anaphylaxis – a life-threatening condition characterized by severe swelling blocking the ability to breath.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of skin allergy that occurs after a direct contact between the skin and an allergenic substance. This condition causes an extremely itchy rash that can ooze and crust.

Substances that can potentially cause an allergic reaction include plants, cosmetics, hair dye, metals, topical medications, as well as dental materials.

The rash caused by contact dermatitis is visually similar to that of atopic dermatitis. The main difference is that it typically appears in the areas of contact with the allergenic chemical. Thus, the contact dermatitis rash is most commonly present on the face, neck, wrists or hands, feet, piercing holes, and waistline.

The diagnosis of contact dermatitis can be made based on a patch test. However, the cause of an allergic reaction is often difficult to identify.

Itchy Skin: What Is It Caused by and How Is It Treated?

Itchy Skin: What Is It Caused by and How Is It Treated?

Itchy skin is an extremely annoying symptom that can really make you feel miserable. However, it can be cured, if its cause is identified correctly. Below, you will find some information about the causes and treatments of the itching that may help you to reduce the severity of the symptom.

Itchy skin or itching, whose medical term is pruritus, can be described as an unpleasant feeling causing the need to scratch. There are two types of itchy skin: localized and generalized. Localized itching occurs in a certain area of the body, while generalized itching affects the entire body.

Itching is often related to a rash. The latter can either cause your itchy skin or be caused by the scratching. However, itching may also occur without any visible rash.

Whether your itchy skin comes with a rash or not, this condition can be extremely disturbing and irritating.

How Does Itchy Skin Occur?

The signals of itching and pain are transmitted to brain by the same nerves, which makes the two sensations closely-related. Itchy skin is often accompanied by a condition called itch-scratch cycle, which implies repeated itches after scratching.

When itching affects your entire body, it usually indicates some problems with your skin or another underlying systemic disease. Localized itching, however, is not usually caused by a systemic disease.

What Can It Be Caused by?

As mentioned above, there are two types of itching – localized and generalized – and each type has its own causes. Thus, localized itches (only present on certain areas of the skin) are normally caused by certain skin problems. The cause may often be identified based on the area of the skin that feels the sensation.

Itches in the scalp area, for instance, may be caused by such skin diseases as seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, as well as head lice.

Generalized itching, on the other hand, may also be caused by systemic diseases. Conditions causing itchy skin through the entire body include urticaria, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.

Other potential causes of itching are medications, e.g. pain medications, infections, iron deficiency, liver disease, kidney disease, high or low thyroid function and certain types of cancer.

Skin Allergies as a Cause of Itching

Itches can be caused by three common skin allergies, which include atopic dermatitis or eczema, urticaria, as well as contact dermatitis.

Itching is one of the major symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis). Itches typically occur in such area of the skin as behind the knees and on the inner side of elbows. Eczema most commonly affects children and young adults.

Urticaria, better known as hives, also affects mostly children, though it may occur at any age. This skin disease causes an itchy rash that comes in the form of raised red bumps of varying sizes and shapes. The rash can last for a few minutes to a few hours. About a half people with hives may experience a condition called angioedema which is swelling of the skin around the eyes, mouth, tongue, hands, or feet.

Contact dermatitis is a skin disease that occurs after a contact between the skin and a certain chemical. It causes a rash looking similar to poison oak or poison ivy. In many cases, the condition is induced by substances contained in plants. For instance, plants of the toxicodendron family often cause contact dermatitis that results in an extremely itchy rash with oozing and crusting blisters.

Other potential causes of contact dermatitis include make-up products, sunscreen, hair dye, metals, topical medications and dental materials.

Treatment of Itchy Skin

Treatment of itchy skin mainly depends on the substance that is causing it – if you can identify and avoid or correct it, then the itching will most likely be cured. However, there are some general recommendations considering itching treatment options that may apply to the majority of cases.

Treating Itching with Products for Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common causes of itching. There are thousands of various dry skin treatment products available on the market from over-the-counter moisturizers to prescription steroid creams. However, using such products may not be enough to treat the symptom.

Experts recommend a special technique that has been successfully used for the treatment of dry skin for a long time. The technique is called “soak and slather”: it implies soaking in a warm bath with plain water followed by the immediate application of a topical corticosteroid ointment to moist skin, which has to be done for a period of two weeks. You can then maintain your skin care using your daily moisturizer.

Steroid Creams for Itchy Skin

Many skin conditions are treated by topical steroids. These are anti-inflammatory medications used for reducing inflammation, itching, flaking and oozing. Topicals steroids should be applied daily one or more times a day. Most of them are only available by prescription. However, some creams such as hydrocortisone 1% cream can be obtained without a prescription.

Certain topical steroids including topical anaesthetics and topical antihistamines are not recommended for the treatment of itching, since they may be causing itchy rashes themselves.

Anti-Itch Creams for Face Skin

Not all topical steroids can be used on the face skin, since it is particularly sensitive and susceptible to the potential side effects of such medications. For instance, topical steroids may cause glaucoma or cataract formation, if they get into the eyes.

Specialists advise using only the lowest-potency topical steroids to treat itching of the skin on the face and for the period of time shortest as possible.

Oral Antihistamines for Itching

Antihistamine medications can be effective in treating only certain forms of itching. Thus, itchy skin caused by urticaria (hives) may respond to treatment with these medications, unlike itching caused by eczema or contact dermatitis. There are various choices of antihistamines available both by prescription and over the counter.

Moreover, some antihistamines are considered to help reduce itching only through their sedative side effects.