Friday, March 21, 2008

Gross


As I sit here, I am resisting the urge to scratch at the top of my left hand. The problem? Allergic contact dermatitis.

You see, I have skin allergies. Nickel is one of them
. The rest are...well, unknown. My sensitivities are idiopathic in that I have no idea which chemical or plant agent will trigger a reaction; I broke out in ugly rashes during my first and second year in Hong Kong, and despite patch-testing, there was no way to isolate the cause.

Such is the case, again. Thankfully, my disgusting, bumpy, red, slightly pustular rash is isolated to my left hand alone, and that rash is well-covered by a large, advanced-healing Band-Aid. That said, it itches like nobody's business and it is disgusting to look at.

The worst part of all? There really isn't a cure; the body pretty much has to heal itself over the course of 2-3 weeks, with the aid of such treatments as cortisone creams, colloidal oatmeal hand baths, oral allergy meds, and Calamine lotions to help soothe the itch. I've been using ice on top of the waterproof bandage whenever I've started getting uber-itchy; the numbness kills some of the itch, but it always returns for another round a few hours later.

I wish I could say that I can prevent a future outbreak, but I can't. This is probably the worst part of all. I am certain that one of my student's Bible projects (3D models) must have used some product or chemical that I am allergic to, and when I handled their
work I managed to make contact with it on the top of my left hand. But to know which product, and which project, would be nearly impossible to narrow down.

So, for now, I am going to suffer, and wait. I'm not crazy about the idea of visiting Anaheim with a rash on my hand, but what can you do? If you're a doc and you have any other ideas of meds I should be considering, then drop me a line; Hubbs has been insisting that I see a doc but I keep telling him that they probably can't do more for me than prescribe an anti-inflammatory or oral antihistamine. Prove me wrong, k?

(PS - These images of my rash were posted in response to Matt's request. Ignore the little hairs on my hand. Note the ugliness and bumpy irregularity of the area, which began as two lines of rashy dots that ran perpendicular to each other (looking not unlike a candy cane shape). At first I thought it was poison ivy but of course I haven't come near ivy so that's not possible. Then the rash "spread" around the area and sort of filled it up in this messy heap of gross. I've already washed with colloidal oatmeal and also avoided scratching as much as possible. I've taken Claritin to try to reduce swelling and I've been icing the area when it gets super itchy. I am now covering it with Advance-Healing Band-Aids to try to avoid contaminating the area further.)



14 comments:

Hurene said...

I'm also prone to strange rashes, and I got one while on vacation in Viet-nam. Who knows what caused it there! I got it after we went swimming in the ocean, and it itched like crazy!! Good thing my hubby is a doc, so first I tried antihistamines (didn't work), so he went to the pharmacy and picked up some prescription steroids (prednisone??) and it really helped.

Matt said...

hmm....maybe you should post up a pic of it and have the medical community come to a consensus as to the best treatment. I wouldn't recommend giving oral steroids to everyone....

Justice~! said...

LOL, Matt, I think you are the only member of the medical community reading this @ current, but your opinions are welcomed.

tejanamama said...

This picture is not nearly as bad as I was expecting, given the description!!! Start to use gloves to hopefully avoid future outbreaks when you have to deal with weird projects or touch things out of the norm (your house, car, regular papers, etc). might be worth the hassle to avoid this in the future!! SORRY CHIKEE!!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

It's still gross, though. I have issues with bumpy surfaces; it's why I can't eat raspberries or look at faerie ring mushrooms. To me, this is uber disgusto.

I am planning to do the glove thing, or better yet - enlist my students' services. That is how I got all my projects moved out into the hall for display on Thurs. :)

tejanamama said...

THANK GOD you don't have cellulite....bumpy surfaces gallore there!! I don't like the hairs on rasberries. gross me OUTTTTTT!!! food shouldn't have hair! I have a texture thing too with most food, but the bumps on berries don't bother me. wet bread tho? Ewww...no chicken parm samiches here and NO breadpudding. ewww.

Hurene said...

that does not look bad at all, not compared to what I had so you may not need anything as strong as steroids...lemme get Matt to see what he thinks...

Matt said...

Yeah...that looks like some contact dermatitis. Nothing that good strong topical corticosteroid can't fix. However, like you're friend said, if you are still coming into contact with irritants, then the rash can come back after you treat it. What kind of cream are you using on it now?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

TejMama - I can handle wet bread, but hairy food is just wrong. Don't even get me started about my friends who eat fertilized chicken eggs..and have to pick out the feathers!!!! GROSS!!!

Hurene - Wow, if you think my rash isn't bad, I can't imagine how awful yours must have been! Good thing you're married to a smart, competent doc!

Matt - Dr. Smart & Competent - so whaddaya think? I've got some Dermovate on hand for my eczema that I could use, but so far I'm not using anything on the rash. I'm just covering it with bandaids and praying for it to go away. Should I use the Dermovate? Esp. on thin hand skin?

Matt said...

Ooh....Dermovate...the strong stuff. I think it would work very well and be safe for you to use on that part of your hand. Just make sure you apply it sparingly.

Natalie said...

It's pretty bad but I had imagined oozing bumps of disgustingness and am very glad not to have seen them. HOpe it gets better soon.

tejanamama said...

Are you still a leper? ;)

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Unclean! Unclean!!

Actually, my rash has been subsiding, replaced by my virulent contagiousness. I should really be exiled, preferably to somewhere tropic.

tejanamama said...

LMFAO. And through it all the j-man sticks around. MAN you got him but GOOD! You go ahead wit yer bad self chikee! ;)