Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1997.
Flushing occurs because the blood vessels in the skin dilate. When flushing is produced by activity of the nerves to the blood vessels, it is accompanied by sweating. Agents which act directly on the blood vessels cause dry flushing.
Causes of flushing may be considered under the following headings.
Some drugs cause flushing when the patient drinks alcohol. These include:
Alcohol may also cause flushing while mushrooms are consumed, and in patients with the rare tumour, carcinoid.
Flushing related to food additives is uncommon.
Note: E numbers are now on most NZ manufactured foods. However, fermented beverages, delicatessen food and restaurant food do not have to state additive content.
Flushing associated with eating is very common.
Neurologic flushing occurs in association with the following conditions.
In susceptible individuals, the medications that may cause flushing include:
The treatment for flushing depends on the underlying cause.
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