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JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

How long should it take for an allergic rash to heal (see details)?

Asked by JeSuisRickSpringfield (7300points) July 24th, 2014

If someone has a skin rash due to contact with an allergen, how long should it take for the rash to go away once contact with that allergen has ceased?

Backstory: I think I might be allergic to my new laundry detergent. I’ve rewashed my clothes in my old detergent, but I’m still pretty itchy. So I’m wondering how long I should wait before deciding something else is causing my rash.

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15 Answers

snowberry's avatar

A lot of it depends on how many other allergens you’re exposed to at the same time. For example, I got a nasty bug bite on my foot a few weeks ago. I swelled up so I couldn’t put on a shoe for a while. I put on a band aid to hold on some cream, and developed a rash where the band aid had been. I knew the allergic reaction to the band aid had everything to do with my reaction to the bite, because I’m not normally allergic to band aids.

Incidentally, at the same time I had that band aid on my foot, I also had another one on a finger. I only had a reaction to the band aid on my foot. So this means my limb was extra sensitive to any possible allergens because of that bite.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Have you taken anything to help relieve the rash? If it is just contact dermatitis can take a couple weeks to clear up depending on the severity. If you believe it was caused by a specific allergen, definitely make sure you removed that allergen. Don’t forget about things you may have transferred the allergen to, such as your bedding. It the rash gets worse after removal of the allergen or you develop any other symptoms, you should check with your doctor.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@snowberry Good to know. I think I’m free of other allergens, but I’ll check to see if any of the bumps look like they could be from something else.

@Seaofclouds The working theory is that it’s contact dermatitis. Because there’s a possibility that it might not be, I was wondering how long I should wait until determining that it’s something else. I’ve washed my clothes and bed sheets, but I’ll think about what else might have picked it up.

(Oh, and I’ve been using a moisturizer that is specifically for rashes. It only works for short periods of time, though.)

JLeslie's avatar

Put some OTC cortizone cream or ointment where you are very red to help it heal. I don’t know what lotion for rashes means? Does it have cortizone in it?

Usually when it happens to me it clears up within a few hours or days, but it depends how bad the rash is. It would not surprise me if it took a good week.

Where is the rash? Is it on your chest primarily?

gailcalled's avatar

^^ cortisone.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@JLeslie No, it isn’t a cortisone cream. I went out and got one on your recommendation, however. I’ll try it out tonight. The rash is primarily on my lower legs right now. I have red spots almost all over, but that’s where the itching is worst.

JLeslie's avatar

Lower legs? Were you walking near poison ivy? Usually pant legs barely touch our lower legs, unless you are wearing leggings. If it was your laundry soap other parts of the body are much more likely.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@JLeslie It wasn’t always around my legs. It’s been moving around, which is how I figured out it was probably my laundry detergent (as mentioned in the OP). I’m just starting to wear the socks that were washed with the new detergent (since I rarely wear them in the summer) and had started wearing shirts that were washed in the old detergent (which caused it to calm down in my armpits, which used to be the worst).

And no, I haven’t been anywhere near poison ivy. Due to a heavy workload, I’ve barely been outside the past four weeks.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Have you noticed any improvement since washing everything?

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@Seaofclouds Yes. It hasn’t gone away yet, but it seems less severe.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like the laundry detergent definitely might be the culprit. Let us know how it goes.

snowberry's avatar

In the future, if it’s possible, try to always give your clothes an extra rinse.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@JLeslie So far, it’s getting a little better every day!

@snowberry Even if I change detergents?

snowberry's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield You have no idea if the next detergent you use will be any better. Also, whatever detergent you use, NEVER use more than you need. Some of it always stays in your clothes (which is why I double rinse), and the rest of it sticks to the sides of your washer at the water line. This creates a stinky washer as it builds up.

JLeslie's avatar

That’s great!

Did the detergent have some sort of special natural or botanical in it? I sometimes am allergic to lotions and potions that have natural ingredients. I’ve never narrowed down which ones.

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