Hand Rash
January 27, 2009 11:04 AM   Subscribe

You are not my doctor: Rash on the back of my hand?

Past day or two I have noticed a rash on the back of my left hand. It runs in a thin-ish (7-8mm), jagged-ish line from the first segment of my index finger down the "crook" of my hand (between index/thumb), about 1" up my thumb (just past the 1st knuckle) then back down the "base" of my thumb (the backside of the meaty part).

Its outline is almost boot-shaped. Take Italy, put your hand over it so the first knuckle of your right index finger is on rome, and that's about what my rash looks like. Except much thinner, and on my left hand (so reverse it). And the only "Italian border" that is on my hand is the Western border; the Adriatic coast has not been created yet. And no Sicily.

This is all on the back of my hand. It doesn't extend to the side or palm. It is only on my left hand. Moisturizing it appears to make it a bit less red, but hasn't (so far) made it go away. It isn't particularly itchy or painful at all, but it's only been maybe 24-36 hours since I noticed it.

Any ideas? I have had ringworm before (like 4 years ago) and it doesn't look anything like that. Not circular at all. I do have vitiligo, but I don't think that has much to do with it. Had that for ~10 years and never had a rash like this before.

I know YANAD(or maybe you are)/YANMD. I will not sue.
posted by jckll to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
IANAD. First gusesses: eczema, contact dermatitis, some other local irritation. If it doesn't clear up call your physician.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2009

Where do you live? What do you do? What were your activities when or just before it started? Your background and history are really a vital part of the picture and is why a lot of doctors don't diagnose over the Internet. For all we know you may have been out weeding and come into contact with some poison oak roots.
posted by crapmatic at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2009

I live in NYC; I do not weed.
I just did start going to a new gym, which is the only thing I can think that I've changed.
But why the back of my hand if it's a gym equipment/towel/locker issue? Why only my left hand? (I'm right handed) And why only this particular, relatively small spot?

Is there some kind of all-purpose topical ointment I can try on this? Or is the first solution go see the doc?
posted by jckll at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2009

This is the kind of thing you shouldn't worry about (at least not yet). I think it's complete overkill to go to the doctor for a small rash that you've had for one to two days and that doesn't actually seem to be bothering you. For all you know you scraped it on somthing strange, or you have some dry skin that got irritated, or whatever ... If you still have it in a week or if it starts bothering you then you can think about a doctor.

I pretty much always have a rash. Food, sun, dry skin, perfumed stuff, laundry detergent, plants and everything else = rash rash rash on my skin. My preferred treatment is mostly just to keep things moisturized. I'll add hydrocortisone cream or sometimes a prescription steroid cream if things get really bad. This is the wrong course of action if your rash is fungal, but that would surprise me on the back of your hand. Anyway, this is no biggie in my experienced but unprofessional opinion.

More information about the nature of the rash might help people help you. Is it red? raised? bumpy? flaky?
posted by robinpME at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2009

Yeah that's kind of the road I was going down.
I however almost never get rashes, so it's not something I'm used to when I do.

It is red, although lightly red (when I keep it moisturized).
It is maybe very slightly bumpy and raised, but not too much and only in a few small parts of it. Not flaky. I guess I'll just play it by ear...
posted by jckll at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2009

Oh, and just because I'm enjoying myself, more geographic descriptions:

Horn of Africa
The rash looks like the outline of the Eastern coast of Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia going down my index finger and to my thumb, then Somalia, and continues to trace the border of Somalia (doubling back on itself to the meaty part of my thumb) until it bumps into Ethiopia. :)
posted by jckll at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2009

umm. chilblains? it's been cold? do you wear gloves?
posted by chickaboo at 12:48 PM on January 27, 2009

Have you changed soap recently? Try washing dishes with gloves and stop using anti-bacterial soap when washing your hands (using bar soap or that strange foam soap instead).

As for your question about the right/left hand thing - this is strange but are you genetically female? I've found that some things will make one side of my body itchy/red/blotchy but not the other, I think because of that strange X-gene inactivation thing. (Why else would my left ear react to silver but my right ear is fine?)
posted by fiercekitten at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2009

If it's really that new then you need to consider ascending lymphangitis, aka blood poisoning. Conceivably what you are witnessing is the infection tracking it's way along a lymph vessel, from it's first entry point in your index finger and now creeping along the course of the vessel. Please see a doctor.
posted by docpops at 6:55 PM on January 27, 2009

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