An allergy occurs when your body reacts in a hypersensitive way after coming into contact with specific triggers. One of the ways your body reacts is with a skin rash. A rash can appear in the form of urticaria (hives) or even in the form of atopic dermatitis (eczema). In either scenario, rashes are itchy and can be quite uncomfortable. Antihistamines or topical corticosteroids are often used to treat these symptoms. Many allergens can cause skin rashes. Identifying those triggers is key in helping to avoid skin rashes due to allergies.
Many drugs can cause skin rashes. Antibiotics, anti-seizure medications and diuretics tend to be the worst offenders. Reactions generally do not occur after taking one dose; it may take several days before any symptoms occur. This type of rash will typically occur on the trunk of the body and may spread to other areas. Expect the rash to disappear within a few weeks after stopping medication. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any type of skin rash due to a drug allergy.
A mild food allergy is another culprit for a skin rash. Eggs, strawberries, milk, nuts and shellfish are among the most common allergies. Unlike a drug allergy, you will know if food is causing your skin rash, as it will appear within minutes of consuming the food. Although this rash can appear around the mouth, it will also show up on other parts of the body. Symptoms will generally disappear within a few hours. In some cases, food allergies can be fatal, so contact your doctor if you suspect that you suffer from a food allergy.
Airborne allergens such as pollens, molds and pet dander can also provide a skin rash reaction. Like food, a skin rash will typically appear within a few minutes after being in contact with the allergen. This type of rash tends to show up on areas that were exposed to the allergen. Often the face, neck and arms are most susceptible. Be sure to wash your hands and change your clothes after contact to remove any allergens that have clung to you or your clothing.
A skin rash can also occur due to a latex allergy. Latex can be found on many items, including gloves, balloons, condoms, pacifiers and even some toys. A rash due to a latex allergy will appear within 48 hours of contact. Although it typically appears where the contact was, it can spread to other areas of the body.
If you are unsure where your skin rash is coming from, keep a diary or log as to when and where symptoms seem to occur. For better accuracy, visit an allergist to get tested. A series of skin prick tests on your arm or back can let you know the specifics of your allergies, including the severity of your reactions.