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nikipedia's avatar

Sorry to do this to you guys, but I have a medical question.

Asked by nikipedia (27526points) September 12th, 2012

I promise I will go to a doctor if this gets worse or doesn’t clear up in a few days. In the meantime, google hasn’t turned up much useful information, so I thought I’d see if any of you had an answer.

Last night shortly before bed I noticed a mild rash on my abdomen. It was pale red and a little bit itchy, and I noticed it got much redder and raised where I scratched it. I took a benadryl and went to bed.

This morning it seems considerably worse. It has spread in all directions, onto my back, legs, and arms. It is still fairly mild, a little bit itchy but not too bad, and a little bit red but not too scary.

Although it came on shortly after dinner, dinner was tacos from a taco place I’ve eaten a hundred times. I have not tried any new foods, activities, soaps, lotions, detergents, or anything else that I can think of lately. I did spend a good amount of time pulling weeds and dealing with my yard last Saturday and Sunday, so I guess there’s an outside chance that could be related.

Any other guesses? And if no solutions come up here, how long should I give it before I make a doctor’s appointment?

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20 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Um, poison ivy? Docs. can do nothing for that. Try swabbing with calomine lotion. If that affords you some relief, you may have backed into a diagnosis.

Try not to scratch.

nikipedia's avatar

Good guess, but I don’t think so. I haven’t seen any in my yard and am not sure it would even grow in this climate, I can’t remember ever seeing any around here (maybe too dry). And I had it a few times as a kid—this doesn’t feel the same, not nearly as intense.

gailcalled's avatar

Heat rash from sweating. Is it near your pants’ waist band?

Where are you?

I have never seen poison oak or sumac.

“Heat rash (prickly heat) is a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. It can develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell and often leads to discomfort and itching. Heat rash is most common in babies, but may affect adults in hot, humid climates.

Heat rash can usually be identified by its appearance and does not usually require medical attention.” Source

wundayatta's avatar

I would keep taking the Benadryl, or Zyrtek during the day. It sounds like an allergic reaction to me. Yeah. Right. Dr. Wundy. Where’s my license? But this is a bullshit answer on a bullshit answer site, so what do you expect? You asked for it.

You also might try cortisone creme on it, if you have any. That should reduce the itching.

I have weird rashes all over my body, too. The zyrtec and cortisone seem to help. They took two biopsies but couldn’t figure out a thing. It is taking months for the rashes to go away, but slowly and surely, they are going away.

Allergies can show up at any time. It could be some new exposure, or you could suddenly become allergic to something old. Do you have cats?

Scratching anything is going to make it worse. The whosiemawhatsies get drawn to the area when you scratch, exacerbating the reaction of your skin. But it is nearly impossible to stop scratching, at least for me. So the cortisone really helps with that. But cortisone is bad for certain other things, so I guess that’s why a dr’s opinion helps.

Good luck. Keep us informed. We want a blow by blow description of every change in your stomach. Like as if we could feel it with our own hands. (Ok, I know I’m being deliberately creepy about that —just for fun).

nikipedia's avatar

I am in Huntington Beach, CA. About a mile from the beach. Zone 10b.

I was wearing a loose dress instead of pants both yesterday and today, so no waistband.

No cats or other pets. My housemates are too irresponsible.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Tick or spider bite? With lots of plants the sap can cause a skin reaction. Maybe you’re experiencing something similar to a phototoxic reaction? You may have gotten something against you without realizing it.

And just to be safe, no new changes in medication, or major changes in diet recently? Just something to consider if it doesn’t clear up.

gailcalled's avatar

Tick bites do not itch, normally, and if a rash appears (in 80% of the cases), it is recognizable. The infamous bulls-eye.

Here’s a page of photos of common rashes (not for the faint-hearted).

nikipedia's avatar

No recent changes to diet or medication. I stopped taking everything I was on about 3 months ago, so no medications at all for now. Nothing has been added to my diet, although my partner and I are eating less carbs (and drinking less wine, which breaks my heart).

Coloma's avatar

Bed Bugs?

deni's avatar


Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@nikipedia That sounds like a plant related rash. I would call the doctor sooner rather than later. I just had a nasty allergy thing and I almost waited too long to call the doctor. Err on the side of caution.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I vote for calling the doctor.

Jeruba's avatar

Listen to @Adirondackwannabe, @nikipedia. He knows whereof he speaks.

A few more days and you’ll be in the weekend: after-hours on-call doctors instead of your regular physician, urgent care clinics, and emergency rooms, or wait until Monday.

janbb's avatar

Any fever? Could possibly be Fifth’s disease although it does sound more like a plant related rash.

nikipedia's avatar

98.2. No fever.

Left a message at the student health clinic. I’ll make an appointment for sometime this week if they tell me to come in.

augustlan's avatar

Just to be sure we’re covering everything, is the rash only to one side of your body? If so, it could be shingles. In that case, get seen immediately. They can give you meds if caught early enough, and shingles suck.

nikipedia's avatar

The doctor said it looks like a medication allergy, or maybe food, but since I haven’t had new ones of either he has no idea. He gave me prednisone and said to take Zyrtec, and come back if it gets any worse. So no real answers there.

wundayatta's avatar

Hah! Zyrtec! And cortisone! Nice to be confirmed.

PS. You should know that there are three levels of strength of cortisone. Prednisone is the weakest, then triamcinilone and clobatisol is the strongest. The problem with the stronger ones is that they weaken the skin with chronic use. On the other hand, being stronger, they tend to fix things faster. But most docs seem to try to get away with the weakest formulation as long as they can. Know that if the prednisone isn’t working, there are stronger versions you could ask for. You just don’t want to be on them for more than a month or two.

augustlan's avatar

Hope it clears up quickly for you!

downtide's avatar

An allergy can develop out of nowhere, even to things you’ve never been previously allergic to. So you can’t rule out common foods, detergents, medications etc.

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