Kim Marsh, 43, first launched her career in the public eye with her band HEAR’SAY, which was created on the reality reality television series Popstars. Her career in the limelight proved to be no flash in the pan, however, as the former pop star joined the cobbled streets of Coronation Street in 2006, earning accolades such as the Best Newcomer at the 2007 British Soap Awards and the 2007 National Television Awards for her acting turn. The soap star has also afforded fans an insight into her personal life through her OK! Magazine column, and it was here where she recently revealed she had an allergic reaction while getting into the Halloween festivities.
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Getting into the spirit, Kim dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow, the iconic character portrayed by Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Kim may have looked the part, but the costume caused an adverse reaction, she explained in her OK! Magazine column.
She said: “I dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow for my brother’s Halloween party and Armand did my make-up.
“Dressing as a man was something new to me. The facial hair wasn’t very comfortable and even though I’d done a patch test I had a weird, itchy reaction to the glue.”
Kym continued: “I’ve had red blotches on my chin for the last few days and I’ve been telling people it’s a shaving rash!”
According to the NHS, allergies are very common, and they’re thought to affect more than one in four people in the UK at some point in their lives.
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a particular substance as though it’s harmful.
It’s not clear why this happens, but most people affected have a family history of allergies or have closely related conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
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The symptoms Kim experienced, such as red itchy, rash, usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
Other symptoms may include:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Wheezing and coughing
- Worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur, says the health body.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy.
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How to treat an allergic reaction
The treatment for an allergy depends on what you’re allergic to, explains the NHS. In many cases, a GP will be able to offer advice and treatment.
As the health site explained: “They’ll advise you about taking steps to avoid exposure to the substance you’re allergic to, and can recommend medicines to control your symptoms.”
If they think you might have a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to help manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
The best way to keep your symptoms under control is often to avoid the things you’re allergic to, although this is not always practical, notes the NHS.
For example, you may be able to help manage:
- Food allergies by being careful about what you eat
- Animal allergies by keeping pets outside as much as possible and washing them regularly
- Mould allergies by keeping your home dry and well-ventilated, and dealing with any damp and condensation
- Hay fever by staying indoors and avoiding grassy areas when the pollen count is high
- Dust mite allergies by using allergy-proof duvets and pillows, and fitting wooden floors rather than carpets
In addition to avoidance, there are a number of self-help tips people can follow to ease an allergic reaction.
Red and itchy skin caused by an allergic reaction, for example, can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter creams and lotions, such as:
- Moisturising creams (emollients) to keep the skin moist and protect it from allergens
- Calamine lotion to reduce itchiness
- Steroids to reduce inflammation
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