7639611 tn?1392877261

Red, itchy, flaky skin patches

I am a 27-year-old woman and this is my first winter in Colorado, I moved here from New York. I have a long history of asthma and allergies, particularly to pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. My asthma is controlled with Flovent. In the past, I haven't even needed Flovent but use it now because I live with a year and a half-old cat. (I've lived with this cat their whole life.)The past few weeks, I've been experiencing itchy red patches of skin that look like a rash on my arms, hands, and legs. The skin on my forehead is red, irritated, dry and flaky, though not quite as itchy. The skin all around my eyes is also red, irritated, dry and flaky. Oh, and my nipples are cracking. I use a humidifier, and I've tried applying Allegra cream, Vaseline, and Neosporin. I've also been taking Allegra orally. I wash my sheets, vacuum, and keep my living environment clean. I know I need to see a dermatologist but I am wondering what might be wrong with me.
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351246 tn?1379682132
I am sorry to hear about your symptoms. Since this is the first winter in Colorado and a great change from New York climate, the red, itchy, flaky skin could be due to extreme cold. This causes extreme dryness of skin. Apply a good moisturizer three to four times a day and use a mild soap with good quantity of skin softening ingredients (called emollients). You also get medicated emollient soaps over the counter which you can use. Keeping a humidifier in room is a good idea. You can also drink water, warm and clear soups, warm lemonade etc to hydrate your skin. Applying a cool compress on the affected areas also soothes the skin. You can also take an over the counter anti-allergy pill to reduce the itch.

The symptoms can also be due to cat allergy. Since you have known allergies to pollen, dust mites and pet dander, chances of cat allergy are high. You may have always been allergic but symptoms may not have been very pronounced. Only a skin test (that tests for cat allergy) will rule out for sure whether it is cat allergy or not. If it is cat allergy, then if you do not take anti-allergic pills, the symptoms will resurface time and again. You can again start the medications (after consulting a doctor) to see if your symptoms subside. Also, you could live away from the cat for a day or two and see if your symptoms improve. However, it would be best to consult a doctor who can examine you.

If you want to keep the cat, you could restrict the entry into the bedroom, wipe the cat daily with a wet towel, and give bath twice a week, use a HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaner at least twice a week, regularly launder or dry clean all upholstery and bedding. In some cases even after all these precautions, the allergy symptoms keep resurfacing. In such cases, the only solution is to stay away from cat.

In cold weather certain dermatitis, eczema and skin conditions like psoriasis surface up for the first time. Since you have known allergies to pollen, dust mites and pet dander, chances of other allergies and skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis are high.

You need to consult a skin specialist. Dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis are diagnosed by clinical examination or by skin biopsy or examining skin scrapings under a microscope. Until you can consult the specialist, please follow the precautions listed in first para to help ease the symptoms.

Hope you get well soon! Good Luck and take care!
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Avatar universal
hi ,i am experiencing dry itchy flakes on my scalp and now they have appeared on the body a well.i have never ever had an allergy as such .
dr kokil ,i would really appreciate your help in this case.i am really frustated with my condiion and cant really focuss on my studies as well which is the reason i am suposed to be away from  my home in india .i live in germany currently .please help me out \
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