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What is an allergic skin reaction?

At readers’ request, this week we are reprinting Dr. Crutchfield’s column on allergic skin reactions first published in our March 20 issue.  

Dear Doctor: My skin is red and itchy. How do I know if I am having an allergic skin reaction? An allergic skin reaction is a common skin rash that occurs when your skin comes into contact with a substance you have an allergy to. It is often called “allergic contact skin dermatitis.” There are other types of allergies, namely those from things you eat (peanuts, for example) or breathe in (pollen and seasonal allergies). This article will only talk about the rash one gets from substances that touch or “contact” the skin. The most common natural allergic contact dermatitis is from a plant oil found in the leaves of the poison ivy plant. Continue Reading →

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