Allergic contact dermatitis results in red, hot, extremely itchy swollen skin sometimes with blistering and peeling. Typically contact dermatitis, as the term infers, is due to allergens directly contacting the skin. However diffuse involvement of the skin may stem from ingested allergens. The reaction is termed "delayed" as they develop between 12-48 hours after the exposure. The classic example for this reaction is the rash of poison ivy or poison oak.
Determining what is causing the reaction is sometimes difficult. Allergy patch testing maybe helpful in indentifying about 2/3 of triggers. For the rest, some rules of thumb are helpful to decrease the amount of reactions.
For diagnosis and treatment seek out the care of a board certified allergist.
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