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Question:

I've been Type 1 now for 7 months. My question is just since I was diagnosed, I seem to have developed an allergy to the adhesive used on tape and band-aids. Is this related to diabetes and if so should I bug my endocrinologist about it?

Answer:

It is unlikely that the diabetes triggered an allergic reaction to adhesives. Occasionally, people with newly diagnosed diabetes may complain of non-specific generalized itching which started before the diabetes was diagnosed and which usually goes away in a few weeks without any specific treatment when the diabetes is under control. I've never seen an explanation for this, and this is unrelated to any skin infection or allergy to insulin.

I have never heard of localized allergic skin reactions triggered by diabetes. If you need to use an adhesive tape, there are many brands available which are supposed to be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction, such as paper tape, or the more expensive "breathable tape" products such as Opsite and Tegaderm.

You should ask your own doctor and/or a local surgical supply store for suggestions regarding what to try depending on what you are using it for. If you just need a "band-aid", you may want to try using a gauze held on by paper tape.

If you need to use adhesives for a prolonged period, and can not find a tape that doesn't irritate your skin, you could talk to your doctor about using a small amount of steroid cream under the tape if there is no contraindication to this. If you cannot tolerate any adhesive and must "tape" something to your skin, you may be able to devise a way to hold it down without adhesives.

TGL

Original posting 13 Oct 96

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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