Can dry cleaning solutions trigger an allergic reaction?

Fact Checked

It is a known fact that allergic reactions occurs once the body gets in contact with an allergen that triggers an immune response. The reactions tend to differ from one individual to another as well as the allergens that initiate a reaction. An allergic reaction to certain chemicals that are commonly used in the dry cleaning process indicates chemical sensitivity or contact dermatitis that ranges from mild to dangerous. It is important to consult a doctor if he/she starts to experience the symptoms of an allergic response. By enrolling in a course on first aid, you will learn how to properly manage an allergic reaction.

What the commonly used chemicals in dry cleaning?

The chemicals that are utilized in dry cleaning include perchloroethylene which is a cleaning solvent that is responsible for triggering adverse reactions among many individuals. The chemical is also linked with respiratory issues that range from mild to severe. Bleach and detergents used in the dry cleaning process can also cause an allergic response among sensitive individuals.

How an allergic reaction develops

Always bear in mind that an allergic reaction occurs once the immune system mistakenly identifies a particular substance as a threat. As a result, the immune system generates histamine that is responsible for causing the mucous membranes to produce fluids, a runny nose and even watery eyes. Take note that histamine can also initiate the swelling of the mucous membranes in order to shut down any routes for the allergen. This is why the individual ends up with swollen eyes and stuffy nose usually experienced. In severe cases, an allergic reaction will shut down the respiratory system and can be lethal if not treated right away.

Contact dermatitis

Dry cleaning solution allergy
The doctor can even prescribe an injectable epinephrine or EpiPen that can be used during the onset of the symptoms.

If there is direct contact with clothing that contains the dry cleaning solutions, it can trigger the development of contact dermatitis. It is the inflammation of the skin that can cause hives, lesions and itchiness.

Sensitivity to the chemicals

Any sensitivity to the chemicals used in dry cleaning can trigger an allergic response but chemical sensitivity has certain symptoms that you should be familiar with. When it comes to chemical sensitivity, it can occur as the usual allergy symptoms but tends to worsen to a heightened state of sensitivity. The condition is distinguished for the hyperactivity of the immune system to small amounts of chemicals that initiated a reaction.

Prevention and treatment

The proper way to manage an allergic reaction that does not involve severe swelling of the respiratory system includes both over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines and decongestants. If the individual believes that he/she is allergic to the dry cleaning solution, he/she must avoid wearing clothes that were dry cleaned and simply purchase clothes that do not require chemical cleaning.

Those who are prone to severe allergic reactions upon exposure to dry cleaning solutions should wear a medical identification bracelet. The doctor can even prescribe an injectable epinephrine or EpiPen that can be used during the onset of the symptoms.


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