What Is an Allergic Reaction to Bleach?

An allergic reaction to bleach and other strong cleaning products falls into the irritant contact dermatitis category of skin ailments, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of this type of allergic reaction include a red rash or bumps, itching, cracked patches of skin, blisters filled with and draining fluid, and pain or tenderness. While the rash from contact dermatitis typically goes away on its own, see a doctor at any sign of infection.

A reaction to bleach sometimes occurs after just brief contact during a single exposure to the product, according to the Mayo Clinic. When itching and irritation are severe, the compromised skin presents an increased risk of localized bacterial or fungal infections at the site of the reaction. Neurodermatitis, a condition that creates chronic itching and scaling, is also possible.

If it is unclear what caused the rash or if the rash continues to occur, it is wise to confirm the allergy with patch testing at a doctor’s office, according to The Permanente Medical Group. To prevent an allergic reaction to bleach, avoid contact with it by wearing protective gloves. Wash hands promptly if bleach comes in contact with the skin. In the case of a reaction, topical hydrocortisone and antihistamines often help to relieve itching, swelling and pain.