Wondering if your nagging cold is actually an allergy? Or what about your new skin cream that made your hands break out? Distinguishing an allergy from a non-allergic condition is not always a clear-cut task. But knowing the difference can sometimes help you solve what's ailing you, which in turn could mean faster relief.
Mary Fields knows just how difficult pinpointing an allergy can be. The 64-year-old Bronx resident tells WebMD she was convinced her frequent hives were caused by something in...
Avoid contact. It might sound obvious, but it’s worth a reminder. You can’t use or touch what triggers your allergy.
Chill out. A cool compress or shower can help calm a fiery rash. Gently pat dry and then moisturize.
Soak it. Colloidal oatmeal is oatmeal ground to a powder, so it mixes well with water. It can calm inflamed skin for some people. But other folks can have reactions to it. To try it, use lukewarm water. If it’s too hot, it can irritate and dry your skin.
Add anti-itch cream. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone or calamine lotion may relieve itching.
Go baggy. Don’t wear tight clothes. They can irritate your rash. Play it loose and cool.
For severe symptoms, try a damp dressing. First find a soft cotton piece of clothing, like a long-sleeve T-shirt or long underwear. Soak it in water, wring it out, and then put it on. Wear something over it that's snug, but not too tight.
If you have a skin problem that doesn't go away on its own, always get it checked out by a doctor -- even if it gets a little better from a home treatment. They could be a sign of a serious medical condition.