How Do I Treat a Rash from an Allergic Reaction?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are many things you can do at home to treat a rash from an allergic reaction. For example, you could use an itch-relieving cream or lotion, or take an oral antihistamine to reduce your symptoms. Bathing in a soothing substance, such as baking soda, may help as well. For a severe reaction or an allergic reaction that develops after you have taken a medication, you may need a doctor's evaluation and treatment instead.

A rash caused by an allergic reaction.
A rash caused by an allergic reaction.

One way of treating a rash from an allergic reaction involves efforts to stop it from itching. For this purpose, you can apply creams and lotions that work to stop or reduce the itching and irritation you feel. Often, this type of treatment includes active ingredients such as diphenhydramine and menthol. It is important to note, however, that these creams and lotions won't make the rash go away. Instead, they work to keep you comfortable on a temporarily basis, and they may also help you to avoid scratching and spreading the rash to other parts of your body.

Apply an anti-itch cream to skin rashes to relieve symptoms.
Apply an anti-itch cream to skin rashes to relieve symptoms.

You can also find some over-the-counter oral medications called antihistamines that may help you treat a rash from an allergic reaction. These medications work to not only stop the itching, but also to put a stop to the allergic reaction. If you had a minor allergic reaction and are no longer exposed to the allergen, this may be enough to get rid of the rash. If your reaction was severe or the allergen is still present, it may improve your symptoms but not make the rash go away completely. In some cases, the rash may even go away after a few doses of antihistamine but then return once the medication wears off.

A skin rash from an allergic reaction is usually localized to the spot where the allergen made contact.
A skin rash from an allergic reaction is usually localized to the spot where the allergen made contact.

Sometimes, bathing in certain substances can also provide temporary relief from a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction. For example, you may find mixing baking soda or even adding Epsom salts into your bath water helpful. Some people find oatmeal helpful for this purpose as well. No matter which substance you add, it is usually important to make sure the water is cool or lukewarm. Taking a hot bath may worsen the itching and irritation, especially if it leaves the skin overly dry after your bath.

An allergic rash that is accompanied by other symptoms such as a swollen tongue or throat should be addressed by a doctor immediately.
An allergic rash that is accompanied by other symptoms such as a swollen tongue or throat should be addressed by a doctor immediately.

While you can treat a rash from an allergic reaction at home, you may be better served by seeing a doctor in some cases. For example, you may do well to see a doctor for treatment if the rash is severe or covers a large part of your body. Likewise, a trip to a doctor is in order if you are not sure the rash has been caused by an allergy or if you are having other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, throat, or mouth. Additionally, if the skin rash seems related to a medication you have taken, you may do well to contact a doctor.

Taking a bath in diluted Epsom salts may help soothe irritated skin.
Taking a bath in diluted Epsom salts may help soothe irritated skin.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

fBoyle

@ZipLine-- Do you happen to have aloe vera gel at home? That stuff is great for itching!

It won't treat a rash, so you should take something else for that, but aloe vera gel soothes skin and can reduce itching. Particularly aloe vera gel with lidocaine that's sold OTC is very effective because it numbs the pain and itch.

fify

@ZipLine-- I can tell you what I used for an allergic rash, but if possible, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before using anything.

I had a similar allergic rash last month. I never did identify the cause but I had the same symptoms as you. I basically went to the pharmacy, showed the pharmacist my rash and asked for medications. She gave me two things -- an oral antihistamine allergy medication and a corticosteroid ointment with itch relief. I took the medication and applied the ointment at the same time. I'm not sure which drug worked or if they worked together but the rash disappeared after twenty minutes and never returned.

So ask your pharmacist about corticosteroid cream.

ZipLine

What is the best anti-itch cream?

I have a rash on my legs, I think from mites. My legs are covered in itchy, red bumps. I washed my legs with soapy water but that didn't make a difference. I think I need an OTC ointment. Any recommendations?

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