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Contact Dermatitis (cont.)

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Contact Dermatitis?

If your rash does not improve or continues to spread after a couple of days of self-care, call your health care provider.

If the itching is severe and you cannot see your health care provider that day, go to an urgent care center.

How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Contact Dermatitis?

Medical professionals usually diagnose contact dermatitis from your symptoms and physical examination. Blood tests and X-rays are not helpful. The evaluation of allergic contact dermatitis may require the application of chemicals to the skin for 48-72 hours (patch testing) using special occlusive dressings in an effort to reproduce the eruption.

What Are Treatment Options for Contact Dermatitis?

In most cases, contact dermatitis does not require professional medical treatment.

Are There Home Remedies for Contact Dermatitis?

  • Avoid touching the trigger.
  • Washing with soap and cool water can remove or inactivate most of the offending substance, if it is done immediately after exposure.
  • If blistering develops, cold moist compresses applied for one to five minutes many times a day are helpful followed by air drying, perhaps supplemented with a fan.
  • Oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Ben-Allergin) can also relieve itching.
  • Do not apply antihistamine lotions to the skin, because you may have an allergic contact dermatitis from the lotion itself.
  • For mild cases that cover a relatively small area, over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream may be sufficient.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Contact Dermatitis, Allergic »

The term contact dermatitis sometimes is used incorrectly as a synonym for allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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