Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Yours Was The Hardest Itch To Relieve

Internets, I need your help.

I hesitated posting about this because I am equal parts disgusted and embarrassed but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I am so itchy. I am so itchy because I have a disgusting and embarrassing rash.

It started off a little over a week ago as a small patch of dry skin on my chest. I thought nothing of it; my skin is usually on the drier side of normal and every winter it morphs into the more normal side of dry skin. No biggie.

Then it started to spread. Suddenly I had four spots of dry skin. Then seven spots. Seven spots of dry skin that weren't like normal dry skin; they were raised and red and itchy.

So I went to a doctor. Not my doctor (I still don't have a new one) but a walk-in clinic. I saw a lovely doctor (who works solely out of the clinic and doesn't take on patients *sigh*) who told me I have pityriasis rosea, which is a really fancy way of saying that I have a rash. A disgusting and embarrassing rash. Disgusting because it's red and flaky and spreading quickly. Embarrassing because I've never really had skin issues before (except for really sensitive face-skin and mild acne during my teenage years) and it's making me want to hide.

As far as disgusting and embarrassing rashes go, I've got it pretty easy. I'm not contagious; I'm not likely to scar unless I scratch my skin right off (which actually sounds really good right now,) and (so far) my rash is contained to areas that are not unusual to keep covered at work (e.g. I have worn long sleeves to work every day since my rash spread to my inner elbow crack.)

I can live with the flakiness and the redness. I can live with the comments Shawn has made about my diseased boobs (yes, the rash is now on my boobs. Rock.) It's the itchiness that is making me slowly lose my mind. I cannot think of anything except how itchy I am and how weird it is that I am itchy all over, even in places that are rash-free. I am never not itchy and it's been this way for over a week now.

I've cut out soap and moisturizer and switched to oatmeal body wash and lotion (goodbye $20 from my fun budget.) I filled the $30 prescription for steroids and anti-fungal ointment (even though pityriasis rosea isn't caused by a fungus, it's really easy to catch a secondary fungal infection if you, you know, shower on a regular basis) (why did I feel the need to share all that? Because I am embarrassed! I feel germy! And digusting!) I was so desperate to stop itching that I even went out last night and bought anti-histamine pills (and waved goodbye to an additional $15 from my fun budget, bringing my total spent on this rash to a depressing $65.)

I hate anti-histamine pills. I have bizarre reactions to anti-histamine pills. I took half of a regular-strength pill this morning and I still feel funny. It's difficult to describe but I feel simultaneously dead-tired and hyped-up on caffeine, my eyes are really sensitive to light and I have dry mouth. Oh, and I'm still fucking itchy.

So internets, this is where you come in. What are your itch remedies? I will try anything at this point, especially if it's inexpensive. If you don't have a remedy for me to try, at least tell me a joke to cheer me up. Please? First person to either cure my itch or make me laugh wins my eternal love and gratitude.


  1. Oh! Don't feel germy! You aren't germy.

    But bastard if you didn't make ME start itching all over.

    Is it excema at all? Does the doc know what caused the rash?

  2. Oh poor thing! :( What about soaking in a tub with oatmeal or baking soda to soothe the itchiness? Did the doc say anything about calamine lotion? I know it's not chicken pox but it worked great for me when I had the pox (at 19 years old). My only other suggestion is to drink heavily?

    Does it make you laugh if I tell you that when I started reading your post I thought the itch was, uh, SOMEWHERE ELSE and I was really impressed you were being so honest?

  3. Blogger ate my comment

    - Anti-hystamine (Claritin is non drowsy)

    - Hydrate ... lots of water

    - Eat greasy foods. The oil will help your skin.

    - Don't use baking soda. It's a salt and will dry your skin. use lotion with a pain killer like lidocaine.

    - Relax

    - Take cool baths as the hot water will cause your blood to flow more and spread.

    - Use an anti-inflamatory like Ibuprofen.

    - Ask for a mild steroid for the rash.


  4. i don't know about the rash. but the best thing for dry skin is the body shop body butter. i use the shea variety and i love it. love.

  5. I'm a big fan of Hydrocortisone creme, which you can get at any old drug store for super cheap. I'd try that for a day or two before using anything as harsh as steroids. Best of luck...I've been in itchy situations myself. They suck!

  6. I have no solution for you but boatloads of sympathy. I'm on day two of a complete and total itch-fest with no rhyme or reason. And I can't take the anti-histamine pills because of the same reaction - it makes my brain want to sleep until three weeks from Sunday and makes my body want to boogie. Incompatible.

    (Somehow I've made this all about me. Shocking.)

    Hope you're itch free soon.

  7. Good Lord Woman! How can you even be funny at a time like this? Here you are itching your butt off and here I am laughing about 40 year old murderers and decapitation (everyone else reading this, you had to be there). It just doesn't seem fair.

    Here are my 2 cents, as I feel qualified to answer this thanks to a severe (i mean, i didn't die or anything, but it totally sucked) allergic reaction which included mega itchy rash that almost pushed me off the edge.)


    Aveeno oatmeal baths, hydrocortisone cream or benadryl cream, and lots of distractions.

    I'd also suggest washing all of your clothes in a sensitive skin detergent and either skip softener and dryer sheets or use a sensitive skin softener.

    P.S. inner elbow crack = totally sensual.

  8. I second Mermanda's benadryl creme idea - that gets the benefits of benadryl without the sleepiness and wooziness.

    I might try a different kind of anti-histamine, Reactin uses a different active ingredient, and it's non-drowsy. It's amazing. Right before my wedding I broke into full body hives (I was a little stressed...) and Reactin was the only thing that let me still function as a person and not go out of my mind from the itching.

    Lose chemicals where you can - senstive skin detergents & go to an unscented fabric softener. Use vaseline or baby oil instead of cremes that are scented.

    And if the skin isn't broken buy Gold Bond extra strength medicated lotion (orange bottle). It's amazing. I get eczema all over in the winter from the change in humidity and this is the only thing that has stopped it from developing & spreading.

    And when you just need some time off from it without the potions and medicines? A cold cloth or a magic bag that's been in the freezer.

    Feel better!

  9. ps - The gold bond worked when the steroid creme I was prescribed didn't, that's how well it worked for me! = )

  10. Diphenhydramine HCl (Benadryl - my ability to remember generic names of over-the-counter medicines is a blessing and a curse) is great for itchiness. Don't take it if you need to interact with people (because it will make you loopy as long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs) but it is great before bed. It might disturb your sleep a little, but you won't be itchy (which would mess up your sleep anyway). In high school, I got stung by some kind of insect on prom night and started getting a crazy itchy, swollen rash. I was at a friend's house whose parents were both doctors, and they gave me some kind of giant dose. Everything became foggy, and I am pretty sure I was acting like a drug addict, but the rash went away in time for pictures.

    Washing your clothes and sheets in fragrance-free detergent might help too. Anything with too much fragrance can irritate your skin

    I hope you feel better!

  11. Vodka will cure this. Have a few martinis and you will stop noticing how itchy it is.

    At least that was my winning strategy when I had shingles. (Because I am someone's fat granny.)

  12. When I got the chicken pox as a kid, my mom would put baking soda (Arm & Hammer) in warm (not hot) water and let me sit in it so it would stop the itching.

    But I really think you should go see a doctor if you haven't already, especially if it is spreading. ASAP.

  13. Eucerin makes a cream (it's kind of a vaseline consistency) that's good for dry patches.

  14. oh my gosh! The Boy just got this same thing like a month ago! as soon as you said the thing about the first dry patch i was like "oh man... i bet it's going to be piyriasis rosea..."

    The Boy was lucky because his didn't itch too badly. because it's a weirdo rash and not normal dry skin i don't know if normal dry skin cremes will help with the itch? but i 3rd or 4th (or whatever it is now) oatmeal baths. i can still remember how bad my chicken pox were as a kid, and how oatmeal baths, while kinda gross, were still the only thing that really soothed my skin.

  15. Oh crap. I don't know what to suggest that other people haven't, other than maybe go to an apocathary and see what they suggest? When I had my cheese grater face (from a month before the wedding to 3 months after, yes I had cheese grater face at the wedding. Photoshop is my friend!) a friend suggested I visit one and they sold me a liver & skin tonic which helped a lot (it was a nasty-tasting tincture I took a few times a day). It can't hurt anyway.

  16. I have been told that tea baths (throw 3-4 bags of black tea into the bathtub) are very good at relieving this stuff.

    Do not use water that is too hot, as you will just become more itchy.

    Oatmeal baths may also help, but I saw the cream wasn't working. So, I thought the tea may be a different approach.

  17. Ugh, I had something similar a few years ago that actually left me with some permanent scarring (impetigo... no fun!)

    I ended up using a hyrdrocortisone cream, sleeping in mittens so that I couldn't scratch in my sleep and doing a whole lotta bitching. Kyla Bea's idea of a cold Magic Bag is pretty rocking, too...

  18. ooo no worries. this actually happened to me a month ago, which sucked because i realized i only have 2 turtlenecks that helped cover it. I put Tinactin on it and it cleared RIGHT UP.. as in.. the next day. I think its because the weather change, cos it had never happened before

  19. that's it - you must rid your home of anything with any form of chemicals - use soap nuts for your laundry and all cleaning products must be o'natural! all hair care products must be 100% organic and you need to find a new mortgage to fund this new way of life!

  20. That SUCKS, Hillary!!

    I have mild excema (red and itchy spots). I use cortisone cream, and a Glaxal-Based moisturizer works wonders...

  21. I think you should treat it like a jelly fish sting and pee on it. At least it would be a funny story. You're good at those.

  22. So what happened? Is there an update?


  23. I know this is an old post, but I actually got this just about the exact same time you did, and unfortunately I still have it.

    I have the worst sore throats and I'm beginning to think it has something to do with this because I found it through some obscure medical website saying it could be related! Did you have sore throats too?

  24. Ok, so I am months and months behind! I was out on maternity leave for 6 weeks and I'm STILL catching up on blogs! Sad, I know...

    Anyway, I have this same exact thing! I had my gallbladder out in late January. It was around then that I noticed the one singular patch of dry skin and thought, as you did, oh just dry skin and in my case, I figured it may be a reaction to the surgical equipment. Then about... I guess a week ago, I notice red spots on my body elsewhere. And everyday when I'd take a shower there would be more and more and MORE! Like you, I have them on my arms, boobs, legs, chest, stomach, etc. So I finally took to the wonders of the Internet and self diagnosed myself. I'm sure yours is gone by now, but I read that it lasts 6-8 weeks or more. Any tips that got you thru it? The itching is killer! Thanks!