Is contact dermatitis contagious? Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that can result from physical contact with certain chemicals or allergens. There are various theories on the cause of contact dermatitis, but not one theories provides a definitive answer.
Allergic contact dermatitis is most often caused by an allergic reaction to some small, structurally very simple substance. This is known as a substance-sensitive reaction. This dermatitis is usually not caused by an allergy to any single allergen, but is caused by a miscellular response mediated by a class of white blood cells (T-cells) which have structural antigens on their surface membranes that allow them to identify and bind a substance which they sense to be a threat. An example of such a substance is soap. Allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis can take place when there is a direct exposure to a substance that the body is sensitive to.
What can be regarded as a source of contact dermatitis is an animal rash. Pet food, shampoos, sprays and other similar substances can result in secondary infections. If the animal is allowed to remain in the same general environment for prolonged periods of time then this can result in secondary infection. If a person with a weakened immune system or a patient of immunodeficiency conditions such as HIV/AIDS remains unaffected by exposure to this substance, then it is probably not contagious. The only exception to this would be when the skin is damaged severely and infection from a secondary infection takes hold.
Chemicals involved in detergents, bleaches, disinfectants, adhesives, polishes and other industrial cleaning agents are normally considered to be potential causes of dermatitis. Dermatitis is a reaction to either an offending chemical or to some other substance introduced into the skin. Some substances have been identified as causing allergic reactions in certain patients. A good example of a substance that can cause contact dermatitis is the synthetic rubber latex. However, dermatitis that is caused by chemicals is usually not considered to be contagious. Factors that contribute to bacterial transfer from one patient to another include increased physical contact between the patients and the agents, such as those used in industrial cleaning agents.
A good example of a substance that can cause contact dermatitis is the allergen cedar pollen. Pollen from this type of cedar is considered to be mildly irritating to some patients. The irritation is believed to occur due to the disruption of the pollen’s formulation. Other irritants are found in barrier creams that are generally used to protect people from exposure to certain allergens.
There are a number of situations that might lead to question as to whether or not contact dermatitis is contagious. One situation is indirect contact, when individuals come in close contact with contaminated objects (such as clothes) while not being protected by a barrier cream. Another situation is indirect contact, when one has direct contact with an individual who has a certain allergen and then decides to share this allergen with others. And finally, a third situation is direct contact, when an individual comes in contact with an object that is contaminated with a specific allergen, and yet that individual is unaware of the allergen. Direct contact is considered to be the most likely scenario that can lead to secondary infection.
Some of the commonly used detergents and cleaning solvents used in the home to raise the concern of contact dermatitis. As is the case with many things, chemical cleaners and detergents are generally safe when used in the appropriate quantities. However, if these detergents and solvents are used in higher concentrations or for prolonged periods of time, they can result in irritation or even redness in the skin.
Because of this wide array of irritants and allergens, dermatologists often advise their patients to clean their homes with one of the many variety of steam cleaning systems available. Dermatologists also advise their patients to keep hand washing to a minimum, since many of the irritating irritants and allergens in house cleaning products have been identified as potential causes of contact dermatitis. If you believe that you have contracted dermatitis, consult with a physician to determine the best course of treatment.