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Photosensitive skin allergy

Q: My wife has photosensitive skin allergy and she developes rashes on her skin if she gets exposed to direct sunlight. Also she gets allergic cold,nasel block and sneezing when she cooks or she is in crowded atmosphere or she is exposed to early morning chillness. She is allergic to sulpha drugs. Are these interconnected? what is the treatment for her and what is the cure? Please help.

A:Photosensitivity reactions can be of several types, including solar urticaria (nettle rash or hives), and polymorphic light reaction. Some are associated with drugs, including sulphonamides. A dermatologist with expertise in this field may be able to identify which wavelength of UV light is reponsible, and advise which barrier creams are likely to be effective. Heat and cold, can also elicit urticaria in some patients. Avoidance and antihistamine treatment are the main options for management. Nasal symptoms too may benefit from antihistamine treatment or nasal steroid sprays or drops used regularly. Symptoms starting after the age of 30 are not as likely to be due to allergy as in younger patients.

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