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Dermatology/Latex allergic reaction or something else?


Good morning.

The other day, I scratched a spot on my arm, and it started to bleed. As I was getting ready for bed and didn't want blood on my sheets, I applied a small adhesive bandage to it, and went to sleep. When I got up the next morning, I took a shower, and realized that the bandage was still on (I had forgotten about it), and the skin along the edge of the bandage was red. I thought perhaps it had slipped due to the soap and water, and it was the edge of the scratch I was seeing, so I peeled off the bandage.

Along the biggest parts of the bandage, I now have blisters. One was torn open by the removal of the bandage, and is seeping. I assumed it was a sudden allergic reaction to latex (I have never had issues with latex before, but half my family is allergic to latex). I applied some antibiotic ointment and a non-latex bandage over the blisters, and started researching to see what else to avoid.

Only I'm not finding anything saying that these large and suddenly-appearing blisters have anything to do with an allergic reaction. I've found repeatedly that "small raised blisters in a cluster" are common, as well as general redness, but these blisters are the size of the adhesive bandage. As I said, I've never had a reaction before, but this was quite sudden. The picture I'm attaching isn't the greatest quality (it's extremely hard to photograph your own arm! XD), but does this sound like an allergic reaction to you, or something different?

Thank you for your time!

Medical adhesive tapes and bandages consist of a pressure-sensitive adhesive and a backing, which is a carrier for the adhesive. Case reports exist in the literature demonstrating an allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) to chemicals found in the adhesive or the backing present in the adhesive bandage. These include the following: the adhesive hydroabietic acid (an industrial derivative of colophony); a glycerol ester of hydrogenated abietic acid; a wood rosin derivative used as an adhesive; tricresyl phosphate, a plasticizer in a vinyl backing;[5] 2,5-di(tertiary-amyl)hydroquinone, antioxidant in an adhesive;benzoyl peroxide, used to increase the stretch potential of some adhesive tapes;epoxy resin, used to promote adhesion in an adhesive;] dodecyl maleamic acid and octadecyl maleamic acid, both adhesives;diethyldithiocarbamate, a preservative in an adhesive, tetrahydrofurfuryl acrylate, used as an adhesive; and p-tertbutylphenol formaldehyde resin, an acrylate polymer used as a contact adhesive owing to its flexibility, strength, and rapid onset of action. These reports do not adequately correspond to the frequency that patients report having an "allergy" to medical adhesive bandages. Treatment is with class one prescription topical steroids like Vanos.


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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>


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