Allergy to substances human skin contact is a common problem seen. Eczema or else dermatitis is the medical term for this entity. Though the classification is broad and complex let’s focus on a common situation – that is allergy to synthetic rubber footwear.

The skin develops itchiness and blisters or small bubbles because of a reaction to the synthetic material that contacts the skin. Some of these kinds of allergies occur quickly whereas other types may take from days to weeks to develop symptoms.

Some of the common culprits are mercapto mix which is used to harden rubber products, thiuram mix which is used more commonly in gloves, carba mix which is also found in gloves, and black rubber mix which is found in rubber boots. All or some of these and rubber itself can cause the allergy when comes into contact with the human skin.

Pathogenesis – how it happens in the human body

Indolent materials of synthetic or natural rubber can be identified as harmful by human skin. This differs from individual to individual. Genetic factors, as well as environmental factors, play a major role in this process.

When allergens come into contact with the skin for some time, some individuals react with these materials. In other words, sensitive individuals mount an immune response against the so-called allergen. This response can go on and on resulting in blisters on the skin, itchiness, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is when a severe allergic reaction causes swelling of the body, drops blood pressure, increases heart rate, and causes a collapse in the circulation. Anaphylaxis is a fatal condition and needs management in a hospital.

when the allergic reaction takes place over a short period it is called acute eczema. When acute eczema is left untreated and causes persist it may end up in chronic eczema.

Common allergens

One might ask “is it only rubber that causes these reactions”

The simple answer is “no”

There are a variety of allergens out there that can vary from plants, insects and their secretions, rubber, leather, metals, clothing materials, food, small particles known as airborne allergens and the list goes on.

Sometimes the broad term allergic to perfumes or allergic to shoes can be further divided into which type of product, which part of a compound triggers the body to produce this immune response.

These tests and investigations need to be carried by a medical doctor.

How to overcome this problem

The mainstay of treatment will be avoiding the triggers that cause the allergy. This includes precisely identifying the allergen and the products that contain the allergen. In severe conditions, your doctor may treat you with medicines that can make the immune response blunt.

Sometimes it requires major modifications in lifestyle and occupation. Such an example is If a person is allergic to gloves, he cannot work in a glove manufacturing facility.

Just like that though it may look simple at first allergens can cause a major impact on one’s lifestyle.

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Chaleepa Mallawa

Chaleepa is working as a doctor based in Sri Lanka. He has interest in content creation based on health, science, tech and motivation.