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Itching, burning skin on face and neck. Watery eye after applying cortisone cream. Safe remedy?

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alergic reaction or skin conditioni am a 51 year old Caucasian male just over 6 feet tall and 200 lbs.

i have a skin issue that started this year and has been reocurring... four times so far. we own a farm where we have a collie and raise alpacas but we do not live there.

i have had a skin condition happen at least four times this year right after visiting the farm... starts with dry, burning sensation on my face. three weeks ago came home from farm with dry and burning sensation on my face then started itching on many areas but generally not areas where i use cream to moisturize my skin nightly which is arms and legs. most if the issue was on scalp, neck and face. continued to slowly get worse for nearly three weeks. had extreme itching and some crusty areas formed and oozed. took hydrocortozone pills and used cortisone cream and finally improved much sunday into this past monday. i had to go to the farm so put on coat, gator and gloves for protection and within hours of getting home my face and neck were again red and swollen and my eye are burning and watery. there are XXXXXXX lines under my eyes and swelling on my neck.

i applied creams and took aspirin and generic Claritin. this helps but skin still burns and eyes are watering. seems like allergic reaction... i did cover everything but probably at least touched my face with my gloved hands a few times

it is winter here but i did handle hay the other tines prior to this happening which could have had poison ivy which i am allergic to. i did not touch hay this time but did touch animals that touch hay and gloves could have residue from last time i handled hay. so possible poison ivy.. seems hour may be too fast for that type of reaction.

i only touched alpacas and our collie during this visit. cant figure out or what to do.

right now still have burning face, neck and ears. skin feels dry and a bit swollen. eyes are watering. felt warm and strange trying to sleep last night.

Posted Tue, 5 Mar 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Rahul Kumar 2 hours later
Thanks for writing to us
Thanks for the detailed description.

Itching on face and neck fold suggests the diagnosis of air borne contact dermatitis (ABCD).
As you mentioned itching has been mainly on face and neck since the first episode, the above diagnosis has become more certain.

Crusting and oozing indicate that eczema is developing in the affected areas.

Poison ivy is a very strong irritant, but it causes irritant contact dermatitis which manifests only at the site of contact, as your entire face and neck is involved, this can be ruled out.

ABCD is mainly due to pollen grains and other irritant dust getting deposited on face and neck folds.
this can be prevented by applying vaseline.

You can do the following things.
1. use a mild steroid cream like mometasone over face and neck.
2. an antihistamine tablet for itch. You can use Tablet Fexofenadine 180 mg 1 tablet once daily.
3. please don't visit your farm for at least a week.
4. Next time before visiting farm apply a thick coat of vaseline all over your face and neck and wash it as soon as you return, This will trap the dust and prevent it from coming in contact with skin.

Let me know if you have any more questions

Thank you

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Itching, burning skin on face and neck. Watery eye after applying cortisone cream. Safe remedy? 13 hours later
that makes perfect sense and fits what i have been experiencing. while i can and will use vaseline in the short term it may not be a practical long term solution due to the frequency and types of farm visits... is it possible for an allergist to identify the offending allergen and treat? i strongly suspect it is coming in with our hay deliveries as i never had a problem before over hundreds of visits over many years. again, thank you for your assistance.
Answered by Dr. Rahul Kumar 30 minutes later
Thanks for the follow up query.

I understand it is difficult to move around always with vaseline coat.

Regarding identification of allergen.
It is possible to do so, but again there is a practical problem.

There will be thousand of varity of antigens in the hay with which you come in contact.
Even if a particular antigen is identified, you may not be able to avoid it.

So the best treatment is to wear full clothes, cover head, wear a goggle, use nose filter and vaseline over the still exposed part.

Take an antihistamine tablet before going to farm, this will help in minimizing the allergy.

Hope I could explain you everything.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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