The case report Dhamija discussed before the ACAAI involved a patient who visited a hospital emergency room three times during the spring with complaints of a facial rash and eyelid swelling. The patient was sent home with prednisone and was seen one to two weeks later during a telemedicine appointment during which he reported the rash had been going on for two weeks.
Physicians realized the rash occurred where the elastic parts of his facial mask would rest, explains Kristin Schmidlin, MD, an assistant professor in the UC Division of Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology and co-author of the abstract at ACAAI.
Schmidlin said physicians reduced the amount of prednisone and advised use of topical triamcinolone, a steroid that helps reduce inflammation and is commonly used in treating mouth sores. She said the patient was also advised to use a cotton-based, dye-free mask without elastic.
The patient was able to find a cloth mask and reported improved symptoms a week later, said Schmidlin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some guidelines for making masks at home and that’s a starting point for individuals with contact dermatitis.
“Instead of using elastics in a facial mask, I would modify it and use cotton-based knot ties around the back of the head to hold the mask in place,” says Dhamija. “We also advise patients to call companies that make facial masks to find out what’s in the product if labeling does not contain enough details.”