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Monday, August 03, 2009

Itch Not Funny

I went to the doctor today because I have this rash on my forearms. This started when I was in Manila but it went away after I arrived in the States. It started to recur the last couple of weeks. It is pretty much an on and off rash – some days it's there and other days there is no sign of it. I noticed it would act up whenever I was exposed to the sun (even for just a few minutes). When that happens, I have these break outs that seemed to get worse over time. It is incredibly ITCHY and super UNCOMFORTABLE. I tried everything ... cold showers, applying baby powder, smearing it with anti-itch lotions, even applying ice packs. All of which provide only temporary relief. I could not help scratching it which only made it worse. It would last for a few hours and often by the next day it would be gone ... that is, until the next bout. I would be happy to post pictures but figured that would be crossing the line between being informative and seriously sharing way too much information.

Anyway, my doctor says I have a fungal infection called tinea veriscolor (it sounds worse than it is). I have all the symptoms (scaly patches of skin that cluster into hives, very red and itchy, the patches actually appear to be glowing (or shimmering) when looked at under a magnified lens, and is caused by heat and/or sun exposure). It is fairly common in warm, humid areas (like Manila) but can recur anywhere when the weather gets too warm (like right here, right now). It can get progressively worse over time if it is not treated properly.

I’ve been prescribed Selenium Sulfide (a topical solution) that I need to apply to my skin whenever such breakouts occur. I did that tonight and the solution makes my skin really sticky. It also smells very chemical-y but it has helped get rid of some of the itch. I also have a prescription for Benadryl should the itchiness ever become unbearable (thankfully it has not yet). Also, I’ve been asked to avoid the sun and using any new cosmetics on my skin.

I am glad I went to see Dr. Tamhane today and he figured out what this was. I spent the weekend googling my symptoms and scared myself into thinking I had the early stages of melanoma, leprosy, shingles and lupus! I think the Internet is great and the amount of information on it is mind-boggling. But when you use it to self-diagnose and self-treat your health problems, you could probably get into a whole lot of trouble!


leslie ty said...

I'm glad ITCH-okay ... =)
hehehe...i just had to use that line...seriously, i think at our age...we should keep out of the sun na...better to use a lot of sunblock before you leave the house...take care Jo!

Auntie Lillian said...

Hope the medicine will help your skin. Glad you had a good doctor that knows his stuff . Take care and stay cool.

joyeee said...

hey dets, remember you would always say that you only have it in manila and you'd say living in the US is better cuz you never have it there, - now you have it in the US na rin... so that means its not only here... you can come and stay and live with us in the Phil na! haha:) But kidding aside, glad its much better now!:)

Joanne said...

Hey Joyboat, it recurred in the States but I originally got it from Manila! =) It is much better now although I still have to use the sticky and smelly lotion for a few more days.