SKIN – Allergic Skin disorders
Our skin is a good barometer of how healthy the body is. A frequent recurrent infection of the skin may indicate that the immunity system is weak. Skin has its own interference with lifestyle in colour and texture. Our skin controls and regulates the water content of the body. It protects body as a covering and works as defence force against infection. It is helpful in activating vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. If skin is damaged water content will be lost. Infection will spread resulting in renal shut down and collapse.
When skin or body is confronted with any other foreign substance, our immune system counteracts to withstand any ill effects from that substance. Antigen-antibody reaction will develop to inhibit all the ill effects. If this is excessive and it creates disease like condition then it is called Allergy. So the heightened reaction of the body to external agent is called Allergy. Antigens developed from this reaction attach to blood cells and form mast cells. When this gets contact with allergen, it secretes histamine which is primary chemical conductor and responsible for allergic reactions. When the body has been exposed to the elements known as allergen, which has been previously exposed, allergies form on the body. Allergies are different types as allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma and allergic skin disorder. All allergies are serious and very uncomfortable. Allergies can be due to any foreign material –natural or artificial.
If any foreign substance enters into the nose, we sneeze. If this occurs continuously as allergy then it is called as allergic Rhinitis. Likewise, if there is any irritation in the skin, body reacts as red itchy swelling initially, which in due course with subsequent exposure leads to allergic skin disorder.
Skin allergy usually subsides by it self, and denotes about the bodies sensitivity. If this is excess it becomes allergic skin disorder.
Skin allergies or Allergic Skin Disorders are a serious and uncomfortable type. Any red, bumpy, scaly itchy, swollen skin can signify an allergic skin condition. This is the result of immune reaction against an irritant. From an overall healthcare the problem of allergy scare is dismissed as minor annoyances without due consideration for diagnosis and treatment. The majority sufferers are females leading to dismissal more readily than if the symptoms were experienced by men. Allergy in some form occurs in all individuals.
SYMPTOMS OF SKIN ALLERGIES
Allergic skin condition can take several forms and are due to various causes. They are:
Urticaria — Urticaria is a smooth flat red eruption with white center called Hives. It appears, disappears or reappears suddenly, without leaving any trace. It causes itching, burning and a stinging sensation anywhere in the body. Acuteness may be caused due to scratching, pressure, aggravation on the nerves, exercises or physical exertion, direct exposure to sunlight or cold , metal, pollens, plants, chemicals, oils cream, food as crab, oyster, prawn, tomato, lime and drugs like aspirin, anti inflammatory drugs, BP medicines and pain killers. Hives are a result of histamine acting on the upper layers of skin. Histamine is primary chemical mediator caused due to antigen-antibody reaction.
The urticaria may be as:
- Heat urticaria-allergy caused due to heat
- Papular urticaria-allergy caused due to encounter of flies or mites
- Solar urticaria- a rare form of hive due to exposure to UV radiation
- Cold urticaria-allergy caused due to cold
- Pressure urticaria- allergy caused due to tight dresses or any tight situation.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis — When skin comes in contact with an allergic substance as plants, metals, dyes, rubber products, cosmetics and medications, a reaction starts after 1 to 3 days leading to red, itchy, inflamed skin known as Allergic Contact Dermatitis. It is more painful than itchy when the agent in contact with skin is more concentrated. Cold soaks and compresses can offer a relief. All age groups can be affected by contact dermatitis and potential triggers may be found just about anywhere. The hands and feet are the most common areas for contact dermatitis to occur. Usually, these symptoms will occur only in the areas that actually came into contact with the irritant or allergen.
Sun Rash – Some people have sensitive skin to the sun in spring and summer. For them, exposure to sunlight results in a rash which may recur throughout summer. These are small reddish blisters in areas exposed to sunlight. They are extremely itchy. There is relief only during winter. For young ones it is very recurrent since skin is very weak and it disappears as they get older.
Angioedema — Angioedema is a swelling resulting from histamine action on deeper layers of skin and it may or may not occur with hives. It is not red or itchy and mostly affects or occurs in soft tissues such as eye-lids, mouth or genitals
Atopic Dermatatis (Eczema) — Atopic Dermatatis is allergic eczematous condition affecting mostly face, elbows and knees. Itching leads to scales and flakes. In intense cases, oozing will occur if a bacteria or viral infection is introduced by scratching. Common causes are allergens, sweating, overheating, and emotional stress and strain, and diet, irritants in the wool, pets, soaps, and other agents. This is most common in children and individuals with asthma and allergic rhinitis.
DIAGNOSIS OF SKIN ALLERGY
A correct diagnosis along with proper therapy instituted early in the course of the disease will minimise frustration. The diagnosis of skin allergy can be made through:
Intestinal irritation-due to foods like crab, oyster, tomato and lime. Food allergies are usually more difficult to determine. Hives can arise 12-24 hours after consuming the food or food additive making it hard to recall what was eaten earlier. External irritation-due to use of oil and creams, Emotion, Climate changes Menstrual trouble, Suppressed sweat, Medications.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES FOR SKIN ALLERGY
About half the number of patients with chronic hives will have at least one more episode of hives in their lifetime. The primary treatment for eczema is that the patient should stop scratching and rubbing the rash. If any food is identified allergic it should be eliminated from diet. Use sunscreens for sun protection for photosensitive skin.
Treatment also includes avoidance of stimulus, desensitization and stress reduction.
In allopathy, usually anti-histamines, nerve inhibitors are used to control allergy. It is temporary and works for only 12- 36 hours. This can be noticed in patients who are in continuous exposure to allergen — for example-occupational diseases. If patient takes drugs on long term, side effects will also add to problems.
HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH FOR SKIN ALLERGY
The objective of taking treatment is to provide comfort. Homoeopathy provides it without any side- effects. The homoeopathic approach is a natural way to help the body by supporting the body’s own process of healing. It involves the use of extremely diluted substances to heal the body through the release of vital energy. The rule in homeopathy is that “like treats like”. Homoeopath mostly selects the drugs with the aggravating factors like Taking allergic diet, During full moon Intake of liquor, During menses period, During menopause, On undressing, In open air, At night, especially after 12 p.m.
Also homoeo medicines will not shut allergy like switching off, but it desensitises the body to the allergen by improving immunity. Thus it helps patient to live in their circumstances.
The medicines mostly used are – Apis mel, Sulphur, Ledum, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Croton tig, Arg Nit, Nat mur, Ignatia, Urtica urens, Hepa sulf, Dulcamara, Rhus tox, Graphites, Petroleum, Acid sulp, Acid nit, Capsicum, Ars alb, Causticum. These Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.
Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD (Homeo)
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Tel: +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011 (Mob)
(Disclaimer - The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)