Allergic Reaction to Medical Grade Adhesives

Patient

Q: I think my son might be allergic to "medical-grade" adhesives. What do you do if you notice redness or mild irritation (He says it's "itchy") after wearing a "hypoallergenic" sticker, patch, or band-aid? Obviously, take it off, but do I wash the area where the sticker, patch, or band-aid was? And if so, with what? warm water and mild soap? Epsom salt? or something else? Do I need to see a doctor immediately or can it wait until the next doctor's visit?

Doctor

A:   The allergic reaction with the medical adhesive would generally be limited to the area of contact. The reaction usually appears as red, irritated and itchy, rash or small bumps, but in severe cases, blisters may form and break open causing a risk of infection. The first, most important step once an allergic reaction to a medical adhesive is identified, is to remove the bandage or tape containing the adhesive. The area should then be cleansed with a mild soap and water to remove any residual particles of adhesive. Over-the-counter antihistamines and corticosteroid creams may be used if the reaction is mild and itchy. If there is a more severe reaction, such as blistering, you need to see your doctor for proper treatment and to prevent any chances of infection.


 

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