When your skin is directly exposed to an irritant such as diesel fuel, it can develop an uncomfortable case of contact dermatitis. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include itching, redness, swelling and rash. Contact dermatitis may also cause oozing and crusting lesions or ulcerations to develop on the skin. Open lesions are susceptible to bacterial infection if not properly treated.
Wash the areas of skin that have been exposed to diesel fuel thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. Pat dry with a clean towel.
Apply an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream or ointment, such as Cortizone-10 or Aveeno Hydrocortisone cream, to irritated skin to reduce itching and inflammation.
Keep any sores or lesions that develop clean and covered at all times. If infection is suspected, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile bandage. Proper home treatment can help to reduce your chances of developing a more serious bacterial infection.
Avoid direct contact with diesel fuel in the future, especially during the two to three weeks after developing dermatitis. Repeated exposure to skin irritants before contact dermatitis has healed can worsen the condition.
If contact dermatitis worsens, becomes hot to the touch or you develop symptoms such as fever, malaise or nausea, consult your doctor. You should not attempt to treat serious skin infections at home; prescription antibiotic pills and/or ointments may be needed.