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I’m happy to report that I was able to move my October 25 appointment with the dermatologist up to last Thursday – October 6. Thank heaven! His diagnosis of my body rash? Atopic dermatitis.

He said that mine had gotten away from me because of the itch-scratch cycle. (Oh, yeah, I’m not denying that I scratched like a two-year-old.) I was given a shot of prednisone and a prescription for Vanicream mixed with triamcinolone, the corticosteroid I was given for my original rash … the med I was worried was causing the secondary rash as an allergic reaction. Five days into my treatment and my skin looks waaaaay better. I still have a crawly sensation that moves around, but it’s not quite as bad as it was. The only problem is that I don’t know what’s causing that sensation. If I didn’t have the itchy-crawly sensation, I wouldn’t scratch.

Once I got the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis, I went online and did research. My treatment is typical for a major flare-up and I have to be concerned with preventing flare-ups from now on. Advice to avoid them includes not bathing too often, not scratching (yeah, right), avoiding stress, wearing smooth cotton clothing that isn’t too confining, moisturizing with a sensitive-skin lotion within three minutes of bathing or showering, and avoiding whatever allergens might set off a reaction.

A co-worker of my husband suggested I try RoBathol, which works for her son’s eczema. (According to a local pharmacist, Vanicream and RoBathol have some connection to the Mayo Clinic, although I find no indication of that on Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc.‘s (maker of Robathol and Vanicream) website. However, the company is located in Rochester, MN, the same place the Mayo is located.)

People keep asking me what “atopic” means in reference to this diagnosis. The definition, according to The Free Dictionary, is “Of, relating to, or caused by a hereditary predisposition toward developing certain hypersensitivity reactions, such as hay fever, asthma, or chronic urticaria, upon exposure to specific antigens: atopic dermatitis.”

The dermatologist, Dr. Paul Lundstrom from Dermatology Professionals, asked if there was a history of allergies in my family. Yes, there is. He also asked if I’d had any kind of skin condition like this before. I said I’d suffered a bad case of chicken pox, plus I had the rash in my armpits and groin just before this, but otherwise, no. He said the previous rash was likely intertrigo – basically a fungal infection. In looking at my hands, he found a typical symptom of sensitive skin and atopic dermatitis: Hyper linear palms, which means having lots of lines.

When I read more on atopic dermatitis on MedicineNet.com, I realized that I had suffered this before. Perhaps I can be forgiven for not remembering, but when I was under 9 months old, I had bright red cheeks that can be a symptom of atopic dermatitis. It’s strange that I haven’t had any other flare-ups until now, damn near 45 years later.

The question still comes down to what caused this particular flare-up now. I guess I’m going to have to do some detective work to figure out the allergen that triggered these itchy-crawlies. (Good, god, I can’t seem to write about this without feeling all itchy-crawly. Sorry if I’m causing the same effect in you.)

Anyway, I thought I’d post some pics showing the progression of this, in case others are suffering a horrendous rash and need answers.

The fungal infection (intertrigo) I dealt with all summer - although this was at its worst, September 3, 2011.

The fungal infection (intertrigo) I dealt with all summer - although this was at its worst, September 3, 2011.

A patch of red on my neck that I had all summer. I thought this was part of the fungal infection, but it flared in a major way after the fungal infection cleared. Apparently it was part of the atopic dermatitis. Sept. 3, 2011.

A patch of red on my neck that I had all summer. I thought this was part of the fungal infection, but it flared in a major way after the fungal infection cleared. Apparently it was part of the atopic dermatitis. Sept. 3, 2011.

The start of the torso rash (atopic dermatitis) that occurred within a week of my treatment for the fungal infection. Sept. 12, 2011.

The start of the torso rash (atopic dermatitis) that occurred within a week of my treatment for the fungal infection. Sept. 12, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Sept. 15, 2011. The rash eventually covered the front and back of my torso, my neck and shoulders, forearms, backs of my knees, and was creeping up my arms.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Sept. 15, 2011. The rash eventually covered the front and back of my torso, my neck and shoulders, forearms, backs of my knees, and was creeping up my arms.

Atopic dermatitis on my back, Sept. 18, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my back, Sept. 18, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Sept. 20, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Sept. 20, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 20, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 20, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 25, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 25, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis creeping up my shoulder, Sept. 27, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis creeping up my shoulder, Sept. 27, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 27, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my torso, Sept. 27, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my neck, Oct. 3, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my neck, Oct. 3, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 5, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 5, 2011.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 7, 2011, one day after starting treatment.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 7, 2011, one day after starting treatment.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 9, 2011, 3 days after starting treatment.

Atopic dermatitis on my arm, Oct. 9, 2011, 3 days after starting treatment.

As you can see, I’ve spent a month fretting about, scratching, and taking pictures of this rash. I will be very glad when it is gone.

 

 

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