Redness, swelling and itching are common to most skin allergies. Yet there are some differences that help in the diagnosis of specific conditions.
Urticaria (Hives) Symptoms
Swelling or raised red or white bumps or welts that:
• Can cover large areas and migrate from one spot to another
• Range in size
• Appear anywhere on the body
Angioedema often appears on the face around the eyes, cheeks or lips. This deeper layer of swelling can also occur on hands or feet, genitals, or inside the bowels or throat.
In acute hives, the welts disappear within minutes to a few weeks. Chronic hives last for months or even years.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) Symptoms
Itchy bumps, blisters or very dry skin that:
• Appear as red to brownish-gray colored patches
• May “weep” or leak fluid that crusts over when scratched
In infants, eczema often appears on the cheeks, forehead or scalp. Children are prone to have the rash at the bend of the elbow joint, wrists, behind the knees and behind the ears. Adolescents and young adults typically have the rash in the same locations as children, as well as on the hands and feet.
People with atopic dermatitis can also have an extra crease, called a Dennie’s line, across the lower eyelids.
Identifying the cause of the skin irritation is essential to relieving the symptoms. An allergist / immunologist will take a complete health history and may perform tests to diagnose allergies that could be causing symptoms.