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Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis: Introduction

Contact dermatitis is a common skin condition marked by itching, inflammation, redness, and blistering of the skin. Contact dermatitis is a type of atopic dermatitis and one of many forms of dermatitis. Other types of dermatitis include irritant dermatitis, eczema, infantile eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis occurs when skin is sensitive to direct contact with specific substances. Contact dermatitis, also called allergic contact dermatitis, is associated with allergies to substances, such as the nickel, which is a metal often used in the manufacture of jewelry. Other common examples of substances that cause contact dermatitis are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Other substances that often cause contact dermatitis include some medications and fragrances, rubber, dyes, and preservatives used in some products.

The appearance, severity, symptoms, and triggers of contact dermatitis vary between individuals. Contact dermatitis often appears as a rash that is itchy and blisters. Uncomplicated contact dermatitis is generally not a serious condition, but there is a potential for complications in some people. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of contact dermatitis.

A diagnosis of contact dermatitis can often be made by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and exposure to common allergens, and performing a physical exam. For some people, skin patch testing may be performed. In a patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response, leading to the contact dermatitis.

Because the symptoms of contact dermatitis may be similar to other skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, or pityriasis rosea, a misdiagnosis is possible. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of contact dermatitis.

Treatment of contact dermatitis begins with avoiding exposure to the irritating substance that causes the skin reaction. A variety of topical and oral medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching and cure secondary infections. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of contact dermatitis. ...more »

Contact dermatitis: Skin reaction to an irritant. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Contact dermatitis is available below.

Contact dermatitis: Symptoms

Symptoms of contact dermatitis can differ in intensity, frequency, and duration amongst individuals. Symptoms can be minimal to intense and include itching and the development of a rash or patch of dry, inflamed skin. The rash often develops scales or and blisters that crust over.

Scratching the area of contact generally does not relieve the itching ...more symptoms »

Contact dermatitis: Treatments

With a well integrated treatment plan, outbreaks of contact dermatitis can be avoided and symptoms can be effectively controlled and minimized. A good treatment plan is individualized to a person's medical history, severity of contact dermatitis, the specific cause, and other factors.

Treatment of contact dermatitis includes prevention of flare-ups by avoiding exposure to the ...more treatments »

Contact dermatitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the contact dermatitis begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam.

A misdiagnosis is possible because the symptoms of the contact dermatitis can be similar to other diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, or pityriasis rosea. Because these and other conditions may also ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Contact dermatitis

Treatments for Contact dermatitis

  • Avoid substances that cause the irritation
  • Anti-itch treatments
    • Topical steroids
    • Skin lubricants
    • Burow's solution
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Contact dermatitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis: Related Patient Stories

Contact dermatitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Contact dermatitis.

Causes of Contact dermatitis

More information about causes of Contact dermatitis:

Disease Topics Related To Contact dermatitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Contact dermatitis:

Contact dermatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Contact dermatitis

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. more »

Contact dermatitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Contact dermatitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Contact dermatitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Contact dermatitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Contact dermatitis

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Contact dermatitis

Medical research articles related to Contact dermatitis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Contact dermatitis: Animations

Research about Contact dermatitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Contact dermatitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Contact dermatitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Contact dermatitis include:

Statistics for Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis: Broader Related Topics

Contact dermatitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Contact dermatitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Contact dermatitis:

Type of acute or chronic skin reaction in which sensitivity is manifested by reactivity to materials or substances coming in contact with the skin; may involve allergic or non-allergic mechanisms. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A delayed type of allergic reaction of the skin resulting from skin contact with a specific allergen (such as poison ivy) - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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