What is contact dermatitis?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

In addition to workplace injuries, occupational illnesses can also take a toll on your productivity. Contact dermatitis is a common ailment that affects workers in numerous positions and industries.

The effects of this skin condition can range from mildly irritating to extremely disruptive. Accordingly, you must have the right information to find effective treatment. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


This skin condition can sometimes result from allergens when a person is sensitive to certain substances. However, most people experience some form of irritant contact dermatitis, which occurs when a harsh chemical or substance damages the outer layer of the skin. All sorts of substances can cause irritant contact dermatitis, including bleach, pesticide, detergents, hair products, solvents and other items. That means people who work in certain industries, including landscapers, hairdressers and construction workers, have a higher risk.


Symptoms of contact dermatitis can impact any part of the body that comes into contact with the irritating substance. The signs usually appear within a few minutes, although it can take hours in some cases. Common effects include rashes, redness, itchiness, dryness, swelling and blisters. Infections can also result from repeated scratching of the affected skin, in which case you should seek out immediate medical attention.


Symptoms sometimes resolve on their own, but medical treatment is often necessary. Your doctor can prescribe special ointments to reduce swelling and prevent itching. Steroid creams are a common treatment, and they are typically used for a period of four weeks or so. In the event an infection develops, you may need to take oral antibiotics to control it.

Your doctor may also recommend you take steps to avoid the irritant in the future. For instance, your employer should provide the proper protective gear to safeguard your skin against chemicals and other irritants.

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