By Mark H. Moss MD, Randy J. Horwitz MD, PhD, Robert F. Lemanske Jr. MD (auth.), Phil Lieberman MD, John A. Anderson MD (eds.)
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Extra resources for Allergic Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment
Lastly, the skin is commonly affected by allergy, although skin findings are often falsely attributed to allergic disorders. Xerosis is unrelated to allergy per se; however, individuals with atopic dermatitis have eczema and, in general, exceedingly dry skin. In addition, in subacute atopic dermatitis the skin may contain erythematous, scaling papules. In patients with chronic atopic dermatitis the skin is thickened with increased markings, known as lichenification. Both groups of patients may show signs of excoriation.
There is a lexicon common to patients with allergy complaints. " They describe a wide array of symptoms ranging from itchy nose, eyes, or palate to runny nose or postnasal drainage to nasal congestion. Sinus pressure and headache are frequently cited as symptoms. "Popping or fullness of the ears" implying eustachian tube dysfunction is an often-heard complaint. Asthma symptoms may be overt and present as wheezing, but descriptions may be more subtle such as cough, tightness in the chest, or inability to get a good breath or let all the air out of the lungs.
Increasingly, indoor allergens are recognized as important triggers and sensitizers of the allergic patient. Type of home and the presence of a basement may be important. For example, a wet environment tends to promote growth of molds and dust mites. House dust mite is likely the most common allergen in our society. It is found in greatest abundance in bedding, pillows, carpet, and upholstered furniture. Therefore, kind of bedding and type of flooring may be relevant to understanding a given patient.