One of the fastest and simplest ways to evaluate the heart is with an electrocardiogram or ECG. With the help of small EKG patches, you can stick the device to any spot and monitor the electrical impulses.
The machine will then measure, interpret, and print out the records that show how fast or steady your heart is beating. But, for some people who constantly have to monitor their heart rate, there is always a fear of patch allergy.
The question is, can these patches cause an allergy? What can you do to treat the problem? Here we will answer all your questions for you. Here is all you need to know.
Can EKG Patches Cause Allergy?
EKG patches are meant to keep the monitoring mechanisms in place. Some patches use an aggressive gel with high chemical concentrations and a strong composition. They remain glued to the skin, regardless of how bumpy or smooth the skin is.
Other patches, however, are designed with a non-aggressive gel. They contain a similar salt concentration to the aggressive ones, but use a gentle adhesive that doesn’t inflame the skin.
Depending on the adhesive or gel you put on the skin, you might notice a reaction in the form of skin irritation, especially from the patches that use an aggressive gel.
Around 2% of the population can experience a reaction to the adhesives.
In these rare cases, people can develop skin irritation or an allergy under the electrodes.
The irritation is the result of the adhesives or gels present on the body of the electrodes, research shows.
If the adhesives remain on the skin for a long time, they have a 50% chance to cause a skin rash.
The thing is, adhesives are used in countless products since they give them “stickiness.” But, the glues incorporated in the adhesives are known to inflame the skin and even result in dermatitis. That’s why the itchy patch can start to feel uncomfortable.
It’s the same case with practical EKG patches you use on-the-go, like the Zio Patch, for example. The Zio patch itchy sensation is the result of the adhesives that keep the product glued to the skin.
For some individuals, the itchiness can progress into an unpleasant rash. Mostly the rash is mild and slightly bumpy.
For patients with sensitive skin, particularly those allergic to the glue, the patches can pose a big problem.
How to Recognize the Symptoms?
Do you need to use EKG patches, but are afraid you might be allergic to them?
If that’s the case, it is important that you recognize the symptoms. The good thing is, a patch allergy or skin irritations are very easy to spot. Here are some of the most prevalent symptoms you should know about:
- Red or inflamed skin
- Burning sensation
- Skin rash
Note: If you have an allergic reaction to hydrogels or adhesives, you have a high chance of experiencing skin irritation when using EKG patches. The same thing applies to individuals with a family history of similar skin allergies.
What Should You Do In Case of a Patch Allergy or Skin Irritation?
The easiest way to treat the problem is to avoid exposure to the chemical you are allergic to, in this case, the adhesive. If the patches are just slightly irritating on the skin, you can stick them to a different spot on the body.
That way, you avoid prolonged exposure and reduce your chances of another inflammation. Of course, even if you change the position slightly, you will still get accurate results.
But, for severe rashes, extreme itchiness, and discomfort, you might have to stop using the EKG patch completely.
To treat the allergy, your doctor will recommend a topical corticosteroid, like 1% hydrocortisone (a cream meant to soothe the skin), or a more powerful alternative.
Another option you can try is EKG patches for sensitive skin.
They use the more soothing adhesives and gentler chemicals that won’t aggravate the skin that much. Most of them are hypoallergenic and use breathable tape. This kind of material doesn’t block the pores and can be an ideal option for repeated procedures. These are mainly used for the elderly or people who have a reaction to the more aggressive chemicals.
Tip: No matter how strong your skin is, you should never apply EKG patches to injured areas or open wounds. The chemicals will interact with the blood and result in a burning sensation. If you notice chapped spots or pain, remove the patch immediately.
Using a machine to monitor the heart is immensely important for the overall health. But, when that machine creates unwanted skin irritations, it may become a problem. The truth is, the EKG patches can cause an allergic reaction, skin irritations, and rashes. While that only happens in rare cases, it’s still a possible reaction. Now that you know how to recognize and treat the problem, you will make the most of your heart monitoring routine.