A few years ago I began to notice I would often get a red, rash-looking area where the sticky part of a bandaid had been. Usually this happened on my arms, and would disappear after a few days with not itching or anything. Since this was an un-
bothersome occurrence I mostly ignored it until it began to get worse.
As often can happen with allergies, this little issue with using bandaids gradually became worse, to the point of developing a red area after having a bandaid on for a few hours, that would take days to disappear.
I am one of those people who is pretty bad about going to the doctors. I go for my yearly physical and if I have any big issues, but I tend it decide if an issue is big when it lasts for more than a week. Many a times I have discovered I have had bronchitis or a sinus infection only after suffering for a week and a half, convincing myself that it’s just a cold. Recently, I went for a follow-up on an ankle sprain that was still bothering me… a year after the sprain happened.
I blame this illness denial and anti-alarmist attitude on my mother, Momma Bunni; the woman who has to be in dire pain or dragged by yours truly to see a doctor. This includes the time she thought her appendix might have burst, but wanted to wait and see how she felt in the morning (it turned out to just be a bad case of kidney stones thankfully).
And so rather than going for an allergy test or consulting my doctor, I decided to try and figure out this bandaid reaction through a few little experiments and some internet research. After the initial web searching I determined I likely have an allergy to the adhesive, or one of its ingredients, used in bandaids. I took a trip to my local pharmacy and bought 5 various types and brands of bandaids then slapped them on my arm and waited to see what was going to happen.
I stuck the 5 different types in a line down the inside if my upper arm and left them for 24-hours. As usually happens, nothing much shows up right after the bandaids come off, but as the skin readjusts to being uncovered the redness shows up. For the first time I discovered some of the bandaids had left blisters where the edges of the adhesives had landed.
Since I have never gotten blisters before I am not sure if it is due to the length of time I left them bandaids on for, the area I picked being a bit more sensitive, or if it is just a sign of the reaction becoming more severe.
All in all this experiment left a few more questions but also gave me a few solutions. For example, it seems that the CVS brand bandaids bother my skin most. The Band-Aid brand and Curad brand did not result in blisters, while the various CVS brand one did.
I have also learned that it is very difficult to get a list of what ingredients are used in the adhesives for bandaids of any brand. In various forum discussions and message boards I was able to find many people who also suffer from this odd allergy, many who have it much worse than I do. While common answer to the question of the precise source of the allergy is often rosin – which is found in all types of adhesives, perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, etc. – I am not yet convinced that is the culprit for my allergy.
Perhaps a trip to the doctor for an allergy test is needed after all.