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Paint Allergy | Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatment

Written by allergiesinfo

What is Paint Allergy?

   Paint allergy is very common across the world. Allergies are common situations that affect almost everyone at some point in their lives. An allergic reaction is the result of the overreaction of the human body’s immune system against any unknown particle or substance.

   Paint allergy results from the inhalation of strong vapors present in the paint. It can also be occurred by skin contact. When a person who is allergic to paint breathe in the presence of paint, allergy occurred. 


   Your safest shelter, your own home, has been painted. It is present everywhere around you, throughout your life. At your college, schools, malls, workplace, multiplexes, and basically at every wall. When you come in direct contact with allergens present in paint, allergy occurs. 

   All paints produce vapors with a chemical scent in the atmosphere. In most oil-based household paints volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found. These household paints are also well-known allergens. Even water-based paints can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Other than inhalation, physical contact is a more frequent way of getting an allergy. 

   Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an organic compound that is present in hairsprays, nail polish, textiles, and even paint. Physical contact with MMA can cause allergic reactions in the skin and contact irritation. But it does not cause any kind of allergic reactions in the respiratory system. 


    Some levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been present in most paints. VOCs are released into the air that contains organic chemicals, such as paints and varnishes. 

    Some examples of VOCs are

  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Acetone
  • Xylene

   Sometimes exposure to VOCs can cause short or long-term health effects. Coming in physical or direct contact with the paint or allergen present in a paint can cause a skin allergy. Physical contact is a more common cause of an allergy than inhalation. 

Male dermatologist examines rash on his leg which occured by the physical contact with paint.

Paint Allergy Symptoms 

   People with latex allergies are at no risk of an allergic reaction due to exposure to latex paint because there is no natural latex protein found in latex paint. Latex allergy is a response or reaction to natural rubber latex. This reaction range from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

Paints can cause irritation if they get in contact with your skin. They can also be certainly harmful when swallowed, particularly oil-based paints. Moreover, the fumes from these types of paints can irritate your nose, throat, or eyes. When you go out into fresh air irritation goes away. 

   Symptoms of paint allergy are sore throat, cough, running nose, nasal congestion, headache, runny nose, nausea, and irritated, red, and watery eyes (Contact Dermatitis). Direct contact with paints can cause skin irritation, rash, itchiness, discolored skin, and sometimes blistering. Symptoms of swelling and burning also appear due to paint allergy. 

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Treatment of Paint Allergy

    If you are going to be repainting your entire house, here are some best ways that you can follow in order to reduce your risk or treat your allergy. 

    Make sure you go for allergy-friendly products with little or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Select indoor paints and read product labels in order to select a product that will generate less harmful fumes. Such as water-based paints. 

    Take frequent breaks and go outside in fresh air to allow yourself to get some fresh air. 

    Always wear a dust or safety mask and protective clothing before entering the office and even your own house. It will prevent you from inhaling allergic paint fumes. Wear appropriate clothes and gloves to avoid an allergy to paint, via physical contact.

    Stay away from the walls, roofs, and paint as much as you can. Make sure your room is dry and well-ventilated. Reduce your exposure to paint.

    In case of an immediate allergic reaction, immediately leave the place and go into the fresh air and rinse irritated skin or eyes with water. If swelling occurs on the skin, apply cool compression on the affected area. If you feel itchy or sore throat, gargle with warm salt water to soothe it. 

    When the painting is finished, keep windows open as possible for two to three days in order to allow paint fumes to exit the room. You should avoid entering a newly painted room during this time. Tightly close any leftover paint containers to prevent vapors from leaking into the surrounding area.

     If the paint allergy affects the skin, wash the affected area with warm water and soap. If it affects your eyes, Rinse your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes with running water. Afterward, close your eyes for a maximum of 15 minutes. If you feel any pain or problem seek medical advice or attention. 

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