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Allergic Skin Conditions

Many people will suffer from a skin disorder throughout their lifetime.  There are hundreds of types of skin conditions and they have a large variety of causes.  There are several that may involve allergic reactions.

What are Hives?

Hives (urticaria) are skin lesions that are itchy, red, often raised and look somewhat like mosquito bites.  Most individual hive spots last a few hours to about a day but new hive spots may appear as others are fading away.  Some cases are triggered by allergies while others are not.  Food, drugs, insect stings can be the culprit.  Sometimes bacterial or viral infections can cause an acute outbreak.  Even exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight can cause hives.  While most cases of hives go away in a few hours to a few weeks, some individuals may experience chronic hives.  An allergist will often prescribe antihistamines and other medications to relieve symptoms.

What Causes Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis occurs when specific substances come into contact with the skin and cause a rash due to either irritation or a delayed hypersensitivity type of allergic reaction.  Irritant contact dermatitis happens when the substances actually damage the skin it comes in contact with.  These types of reactions can appear anywhere but commonly occur on the hands after an individual has handled something that causes a non-allergic inflammatory response.

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a chemical or other substance causes a red, itchy, bumpy reaction on the skin due to a delayed hypersensitivity allergic response.  Examples of substances that can cause these type reactions include poison ivy, perfumes, dyes, latex, metals, especially nickel.  This type of reaction normally starts 24-48 hours after initial contact.

A variety of treatments can be prescribed by a Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center allergist depending upon the severity of the condition.  A few treatment options include topical corticosteroid creams and cold soaks.  If appropriate, a type of testing called patch testing can be performed.  This may identify the underlying cause of the reaction.

What is the Best Treatment for Eczema?

A type of eczema called atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that has genetic, environmental and at times allergic components.  A few things that can worsen the problem include harsh soaps/detergents, scented topical products, scratchy clothing, food or environmental allergies and even sweating.  Avoiding or minimizing these sources of irritation is important.  Keeping the skin moisturized is extremely important.  If at all possible scratching should be kept to a minimum to avoid skin infection.  You may be prescribed topical corticosteroid and other types of anti-inflammatory medications to treat the condition.  In some cases, antibiotics may be needed for short-term use.

Whatever type of allergic skin condition an individual is suffering from, it’s important to visit an allergy and asthma center like Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center to correctly diagnose and treat the condition.  An accurate diagnosis will enable an allergy specialist to provide the best type of treatment for the condition.