Pesticide Allergy

Pesticides are used to control pests around plants. Most pesticides are harmless to people, but there are some people that develop allergic sensitization to certain chemicals. There are two types of allergic sensitization, skin and respiratory.

Skin allergic sensitization is brought on by skin contact. This affects mostly farmers who are directly exposed to the pesticides. Respiratory allergic sensitization occurs through inhalation. Using a pesticide with a high inhalation hazard without a respirator can bring on this sensitization. Symptoms usually show immediately.

Pesticide Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of skin allergic sensitization include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Blistering

Symptoms of respiratory allergic sensitization include:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing

Respiratory sensitization can also lead to a severe asthma attack. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Diagnosing A Pesticide Allergy

As with any chemical related allergy, a patch test is used to diagnose a pesticide allergy. During a patch test, you may feel discomfort early on but symptoms can also be delayed; so allergists will leave the patch on the skin for at least two days. You will also need to return about a week later so the doctor can assess your skin.

If you have any skin conditions that may skew the results of the patch test, let your allergist know at the time of your appointment.

Pesticide Allergy Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with a pesticide allergy, you need to avoid direct contact with pesticides. For those that handle pesticides for work, take additional measures to protect yourself from these chemicals. Wear protective clothing and a mask to avoid skin contact and inhalation.

To treat symptoms related to the skin, ask your doctor about the right cortisone cream for you. There are different types of over-the-counter allergy medications to help soothe your itching and burning, but some symptoms require prescription medications.

Inhaled corticosteroids can treat asthma related symptoms. This medication must be prescribed by a doctor; so if you experience breathing problems after being exposed to pesticides, contact your doctor as soon as possible.


For questions or concerns about pesticide allergy, call the allergy specialists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers. We are available six days a week to treat your allergies, asthma, and sinus problems. We offer six convenient locations in Manhattan and Queens, and we can accommodate for same-day appointments. Don’t wait to treat your allergies! Call (212) 686-4448 to book your appointment today.

  • NY Allergy & Sinus Centers

    Our premier team of allergists offer state-of-the-art methods for diagnosis and treatment of allergies and sinus conditions. Our NY Allergy & Sinus Centers perform Allergy Skin and Blood Testing, Food Allergy Testing, Patch Testing, and Immunotherapy, and often a same-day diagnosis is possible.

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