The skinny on skin allergies
WHEN you suffer from an allergy, your body is reacting to something you are sensitive to.
Perhaps the most commonly known allergic reaction that affects many people is allergic rhinitis, or an inflammation of the nasal airways which can lead to a persistent runny or blocked nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes.
But skin allergies are also very common.
Atopic eczema, which results in itchy or painful red, tight skin is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disease, and is often the first manifestation in a patient.
What can happen after is what researchers call the atopic or allergic march, where other atopic allergies, like asthma and allergic rhinitis, progressively appear.
Other common types of skin allergy include urticaria, or hives - allergic reactions which show up as swellings called wheals - and angioedema.
The latter is a result of fluid accumulation deep in the skin and is characterised by swelling of body parts such as the lips and eyelids. It is associated with some discomfort and it lasts longer than hives, even up to a few days.
In severe cases, internal organs such as the tongue and airway can be affected, causing a debilitating and even life-threatening situation.
Though seeing a doctor is recommended in such situations, less-serious skin allergies can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines such as Clarityn.
The easily available medication will help alleviate symptoms so you can go about your day without hassle.
Clarityn is available at major pharmacies and Chinese medical halls for $10.50.