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Bumps, itching, redness and other skin conditions are very common, and their cause may not be easily identifiable. Rashes can be caused by many things, including plants (poison ivy, for example), allergic reactions to a medication or a food, or an illness (measles or chickenpox, for example). Eczema and hives, both of which are related to allergies, are two of the most common skin rashes.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, affecting between 10 and 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults. If you have atopic dermatitis, your skin may become dry, red, irritated and itchy. Sometimes, especially when infected, your skin may have small, fluid-filled bumps that ooze a clear or yellowish liquid. People with atopic dermatitis often have a family history of allergies.

Learn more information and how to manage atopic dermatitis (eczema).


Hives (urticaria) are red bumps or welts that appear on the body. The condition is called acute urticaria if it lasts for no more than six weeks, and chronic urticaria if it persists beyond six weeks. Acute urticaria is most commonly caused by exposure to an allergen or by an infection. The cause of chronic urticaria is largely unknown.

Learn more information and how to manage hives (urticaria).

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a reaction that appears when the skin comes in contact with an irritant or an allergen. Symptoms include a rash, blisters, itching and burning. Skin irritants, such as water, soap, detergent, fabric softeners and shampoos, are the most common cause of irritant contact dermatitis.

A reaction to some products — such as shaving lotion, some perfumes and sunscreen — can occur if the skin on which the allergen is applied is also exposed to sunlight. This is called photoallergic contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis results from exposure to a substance to which you’re allergic, such as a fragrance, metals (including nickel, a component of stainless steel), adhesives, nail polish, topical medications, plants and rubber gloves.

Learn more information and how to manage contact dermatitis.

Latex allergy

Latex allergy usually develops after repeated exposure to latex products, including balloons or medical gloves. Symptoms may include hives, itching or a stuffy or runny nose. Some people may experience asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.

Symptoms begin within minutes of exposure to latex products; direct physical contact isn’t needed to trigger an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis and severe asthmatic reactions have been caused by exposure to airborne particles of powder from latex gloves.

Allergic reactions to latex are less common now, since many hospitals and health care workers have switched to nonlatex gloves or low-protein latex gloves.

Learn more information and how to manage your latex allergies.

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