Paint allergies! Your safest haven, your own home, has paint. Paint is everywhere around you, throughout your life – at your workplace, college, malls, multiplexes, and basically every wall. Paint allergies occur when you inhale strong vapours from paint or come in direct contact with allergens.
All paints produce fumes with chemical odours in the air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in most oil-based household paints are also well-known allergens; even water-based paints can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Besides inhalation, direct skin contact is a more frequent way of catching an allergy.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is found in nail polish, hairsprays, textiles and even paint. With direct skin contact, MMA can cause contact irritation and allergic reactions in the skin, but it does not cause any kind of allergic reactions in the respiratory system.Triggers
Exposure to vapour and VOCs from paint can result in an allergic reaction in the respiratory system. Coming in direct contact with allergens and other foreign substances present in paint can also lead to a skin allergy. In fact, direct skin contact is a more common cause of an allergy than inhalation.
Inhalation of paint fumes can lead to a runny nose, sore throat, cough and nasal congestion as common symptoms along with irritated and watery eyes. On the other hand, people who experience reactions from direct contact can have a localized skin irritation, rash or discolored skin, itchiness and sometimes blistering. Burning and swelling are also common symptoms of paint allergies via direct contact.
If you’re repainting your entire house, make sure you go for an allergy-friendly product with little or no VOCs. Wear a dust mask before entering office and even your own house to prevent yourself from inhaling allergic paint fumes. Wear adequate clothes and gloves to avoid an allergy from paint via direct contact. Stay away from walls as much as you can. Make sure your room is well-ventilated and dry. In case of an allergic reaction, immediately leave the place for some fresh air and/or rinse irritated skin or eyes with water. If swelling occurs, apply cool compression and if you have an itchy throat, gargle with warm salt water to soothe it.