What is it?
Inflammation of the skin is commonly termed ‘eczema’ or ‘dermatitis’. Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with something that causes it to become red and inflamed (known as an inflammatory reaction).
What are the symptoms?
Contact dermatitis usually occurs on areas of your body that have been directly exposed to the reaction-causing substance — for example, along a calf that brushed against poison ivy or under a watch band. The rash usually develops within minutes to hours of exposure and can last two to four weeks. Signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- A red rash.
- Itching, which may be severe.
- Dry, cracked, scaly skin.
- Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing and crusting.
- Swelling, burning or tenderness.
What to expect?
You can try the following things:
- Avoid the irritant or allergen, which enables the rash to clear in at least two to 4 weeks.
- Cool compresses can help to soothe inflamed and itchy skin. You can soak a clean cloth in cool water and place over the affected areas for about ten minutes.
- Apply a thin layer of Calamine lotion on the affected areas twice daily.
- To relieve itching and irritation, use hydrocortisone cream. This is available over-the-counter and helps to alleviate inflammation. However it is not effective in treating bacterial infection.
- Oral antihistamines which are also available over-the-counter help to reduce itching. But they may have side effects such as drowsiness and dryness of the mouth.
If symptoms persist or worsen, you need to seek consult with your GP.