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Contact Dermatitis, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Irritant:

    • Immediate eczematous eruption (superficial inflammatory process primarily in epidermis)

    • Most common type of dermatitis

    • Trigger substance itself directly damages the skin resul...


Signs and Symptoms


  • Date of onset

  • Time course

  • Pattern of lesions

  • Relationship to work

  • Pruritic or not

  • Mucosal involvement

  • Exposure to new products (e.g., lotions, soaps, and cosmetics), foods...


Initial Stabilization/Therapy

Rarely required in absence of concomitant pathology 

Ed Treatment/Procedures

  • Primarily symptomatic

  • Wash area with mild soap and water

  • Remove or avoid offend...



Admission Criteria

Rarely indicated unless severe systemic reaction or significant secondary infection 

Discharge Criteria

  • Symptomatic relief

  • Adequate follow-up with primary care phys...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Remove offending agent

  • Beware of progression to systemic anaphylaxis (e.g., latex allergy)

  • Watch out for concurrent bacterial infections

  • Rhus dermatitis wounds are no longer contagiou...

Additional Reading



  • 692.2 Contact dermatitis and other eczema due to solvents

  • 692.9 Contact dermatitis and other eczema, unspecified cause

  • 692.81 Dermatitis due to cosmetics

  • 692.5 Contact dermatitis and other ecze...

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