Allergies are over-reactions of the immune system to a substance that normally causes no harm. It is caused by allergens, which are substances that produce an allergic reaction. Examples include pollen, mold or animal dander (tiny skin particles released from animals with fur or feather).
A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin which can be found at one area of the body or spread throughout the body. It can cause redness, itchiness or a burning sensation in some people. Doctors identify the cause of the rash based on what substances you were exposed to recently, your drug allergies, and your medical history as well as what the rash looks like. Common causes include food allergies, use of certain medicines or chemicals and eczema.
Symptoms of allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose, sneezing
- Rashes or hives (also known as urticaria, is a kind of skin rash that is usually described as raised, itchy red bumps on the skin).
- Feeling tired
The most serious form of an allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a reaction involving the whole body and symptoms include
- Hives and itching around the whole body
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Hoarseness or tightness of the throat
Anaphylaxis can cause death and you would need to go to the emergency department immediately
What you can do
- Avoid allergens
- Leave the affected area exposed to air
- Avoid scrubbing your skin or applying any cosmetic products directly on the rash
- Avoid tight- fitting clothing which may further irritate the skin
- Apply moisturizers if you have eczema
- Stay at shaded areas or places with good air flow if you get rash during hot weather
When to see a doctor
- If you have a fever
- If there is increased pain, swelling or redness over the affected area
- If you find it difficult to breathe
- If you experience swelling of the face and lips
- If you notice pus or discharge around the rash area
Updated in Nov 2018
This article does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist. People with special health needs such as babies, children below 12 year old, elderly and pregnant ladies should see a doctor instead of self-treatment. Always read the instructions and warnings on the package before taking any medicine.