You must find the cause of your contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis can be examined and diagnosed by your doctor. Unfortunately there is no cure for allergy contact dermatitis and once allergy to a substance has developed, it usually remains for life. The most effective way to prevent further symptoms is to avoid prolong contact with the allergen(s) that causes the problem. In order to know what allergens to avoid in the future it is essential to correctly identify the allergen(s) causing the problem.
How Can My Healthcare Provider Determine the Cause of My Contact Dermatitis?
After your healthcare provider examines you and establishes that your rash may be contact dermatitis, he or she may suggest that you undergo a patch test to help distinguish the specific type and cause(s) of the contact dermatitis.
What is a Patch Test?
A patch test is a skin test used by healthcare providers to help determine whether your contact dermatitis is caused by an allergen or an irritant. A patch test also helps identify exactly which substance(s) is causing your dermatitis so that you may avoid exposure to the source of your skin rash.
When Should Patch Testing Be Done?
Your healthcare provider may choose to patch test to help determine if your skin rash is contact dermatitis and not another condition such as psoriasis or eczema.
How is Patch Testing Done?
A number of different allergens that may be causing your rash are applied in very small amounts to a small area of skin on your upper back, which is then covered so it's watertight. The patch test is usually left on your back for 2 days. When you return to your healthcare provider's office, he or she looks at your back to see which allergens caused a reaction. Your healthcare provider may want to see you again for a second reading of your patches up to 1 week after application.
What Will I Need to Do if I Have a Patch Test?
Before you have a patch test performed you should:
NOT apply topical corticosteroids (e.g., hydrocortisone) on the test area for 1 to 2 weeks before the test.
Minimize sun exposure on the test area before the test.
NOT apply lotions, creams, or ointments to the test area just before the test.
During the test period you should:
Keep the patch test area dry.
Avoid activities that cause heavy perspiration
Be careful not to wet the test area.
You may sponge bathe around the patch test site.
Call your healthcare provider's office immediately if the test site itches or burns severely, or if the patch test becomes loose.
What Does a Patch Test Tell Me?
A patch test is a reliable way to determine if you have allergic contact dermatitis and what is causing it. If a skin test area is swollen and red with tiny blisters, it may indicate that you are allergic to that substance. If you are sensitive to one of the allergens in the patch test, your healthcare- provider will give you information about the allergen, what you should do to avoid contact with the allergen, and what alternative substances you can use.
If your patch test results are negative, it indicates that you are not allergic to the substances tested. By eliminating allergic contact dermatitis as the cause of your skin rash, your healthcare provider can focus on other causes of your condition.
How Do I Prevent My Contact Dermatitis From Occuring Again?
The best treatment for allergic contact dermatitis is to avoid the allergen(s) that causes the rash. After your healthcare provider tells you the name(s) of the allergen(s) you are allergic to, you should read the ingredient list on the labels of products before purchasing or using them. The following chart lists the allergens found in the TRUE Test® system, their occurrence and item that often contain these common allergens. click here
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