gardener’s first aid for allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to a substance, material or plant that you have come into contact with; it generally manifests post contact as a region of itchy inflamed skin situated where contact had taken place. In severe instances and were scratching is not abated the site can develop sores. In some instance prolonged rashing and autoeczematisation can occur. In most scenarios ACD reactions disappear within days but the reaction potential persists indefinitely.

The delayed reaction can hinder deduction of the triggering allergen which will need avoidance or removal if possible from the garden context.  The symptoms of ACD or any active dermatitis are mostly treated with emollient creams. Often ACD sufferers are prescribed topical steroids and Topical or oral antibiotics for any secondary infection arising. In severe cases oral steroids or immunosuppressive medications are employed.

First response:  Wash with clean water to remove any residue allergen, follow with a lavender or rosemary herbal rinse to lessen irritation and swelling and to ward off any secondary infection via their antimicrobial activity.  Apply Aloe Vera gel or strawberry pulp to cool and soothe the flared skin or a cooled Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) infusion if particularly itchy. Allow irritated skin to breathe for a day, if not beginning to subside thereafter, or if this is not the first time an ACD incident  occurred then commence longer term treatment.

For longer term treatment: Make and apply a calendula and chickweed emollient or salve. Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) renowned for its skin healing abilities actually stimulates cellular regeneration, coupled with its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties it address both initial flare up and potential secondary infection. Chickweed (Stellaria Media) is a weed with a purpose and actually soothes rashes and skin irritations via its natural anti-inflammatory and demulcent properties.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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