Rash on palm of hand, please not buggie bites.
September 15, 2009 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I've got some kind of rash on the palm of my right hand, and it's got me pretty confused. Thoughts?

Here's a picture, though it doesn't photograph very well. I also noticed a patch of it on the top of my right foot now. It itches sometimes, and is pretty uncomfortable on my hand, like the skin feels tight.

My mother threw out "bed bugs?" and now I'm terrified. I looked up pictures of bed bug bites, and they seem more like mosquito bites, this is more like a rash. I think it might be some kind of allergic reaction to soap (I switched to a new bar of soap a couple weeks ago), but I first noticed this rash last Friday evening.

If I go to the doctor, she'll probably just tell me to put hydro cortisone cream on it, which I'm doing. I can handle it if it's just a rash or allergic reaction (though I don't know what from), it's the possibility of it being freakin' bed bugs that doesn't make me feel to great. Any thoughts on that? Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
Those don't look like bed bug bites; it looks more like an allergic reaction or even heat rash.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:09 AM on September 15, 2009

Looks like regular old hives to me. On your palm is weird though because that can be a sign of a serious allergic reaction. Anything new in your environment? New pet? New apartment with old carpets? New detergent? New body wash? Take a benadryl and see if it helps. If it doesn't help, then you can try the doctor. Unfortunately with allergic reactions it's just trial and error figuring out what did it. And something you never used to be allergic to can still be the culprit! If you feel shortness of breath/constriction in your throat, or any of the other symptoms of anaphylaxis, go to the ER.
posted by SassHat at 7:11 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is it scabby? It kinda looks like poison ivy in its earlier stages, too.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:15 AM on September 15, 2009

The thing about rashes is that they can be a lot of things. Especially from a photo, all we can do is toss out some suggestions.

Secondly, to my rather untrained eye the rash on your hand and the rash on your foot look different, so may not have the same cause.

My first guess would be contact dermatitis on your hand (especially if you're right handed - a distribution on the palm could well be something you were in contact with on a handrail that you would naturally have no recollection of), and miliaria (heat rash) on your foot. I get rashes like that on my feet frequently in summer if I've been walking long distances.

Great emphasis on 'guess' though - even if I was your doctor, which I am not, I would not be able to make a diagnosis on the basis of photos.
posted by Coobeastie at 7:16 AM on September 15, 2009

Looks like the hives I got when my girlfriend and I broke through a wall in our shower doing, um....activities, and released a ton of mold spores. Turns out, the wall was a sodden mess and had to be replaced, but I couldn't be in the house for the next 3 days because the hives were killing me.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:18 AM on September 15, 2009

Does it spread when you scratch it? Do the bumps sometimes go away after a few hours, then reappear? If so, definitely hives.

I got hives for the first time a few months ago, and it freaked me the fuck out. I had just moved into a new apartment (a sublet) and was wigged out that maybe the bed had some kind of infestation. Especially since they bumps were most prevalent in 'warm'. Turns out the tuna salad I had eaten the day before was so filled with histamines that I broke out in hives. Well, it also could have been stress induced. But my money is on the tuna.
posted by molecicco at 7:30 AM on September 15, 2009


Here's an easy test - take a Benadryl. If it causes the rash to start subsiding after about a half hour or so, then it's probably an allergic reaction to something. I suspect that this is the most likely issue.

If it does not go away in the next 24 hours, or it starts spreading fast and/or threatening to spread over your whole body, run-don't-walk to a dermatologist (or, a hospital, depending on what level of freaked out you're at).

Good luck!
posted by Citrus at 7:55 AM on September 15, 2009

Secondary syphilis sometimes presents as a rash on your palm. Go to the doctor.
posted by OmieWise at 8:27 AM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Have you been having a particularly stressful time recently?
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 9:31 AM on September 15, 2009

Don't be offended (or scared), but OmieWise's thought was my initial reaction. Definitely see a doctor.
posted by General Malaise at 9:38 AM on September 15, 2009

i broke out in the same rash about a month ago. it was on the palms of my hands, one forearm, and all over my feet. the only thing i could think of that may have caused it was cleaning off two very, very dusty shelves in my parents' house. though i used a cloth and hardly seemed to get any dust on me, i broke out about half an hour after i cleaned them. i've never had a reaction to dust before so it was pretty strange, but it went away after 2-3 days.
posted by gursky at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2009

Years ago, I had a very mild case of athlete's foot, so mild that I didn't realize what it was-- the tops and soles of my feet itched a little after I took my socks off in the evening, but there was no rash, redness, peeling, etc. After a few weeks, I got a rash identical to yours on my hands, and developed a case of dermographism. My rash would come and go, often in response to changes in temperature.

Eventually, I went to the doctor, and he sent me home with a prescription for oral antihistamines and directions to pick up some over-the-counter antifungal cream while I was at the pharmacy. It worked.

If you're adequately insured, and this doesn't clear itself up after a few weeks, you should go to the doctor. If your doctor regularly brushes you off without giving you the attention you think you deserve ("she'll probably just tell me to put hydro cortisone cream on it, which I'm doing"), you've got a crumby doctor, and should look for a new one.
posted by pullayup at 10:01 AM on September 15, 2009

3rd-ing the initial thought of syphilis. Get to a dermatologist and get tested.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 11:33 AM on September 15, 2009

other people have pointed out that there's always the possibility of it being something serious and, thus, you should go to the doctor.

i just wanted to say that my first reaction upon seeing was to assume that it was poison ivy. do you pet strange dogs? or do you pet known dogs who run free outside?
posted by 256 at 12:25 PM on September 15, 2009

Not to harp on the syphilis thing, but syphilis elimination gets a lot of federal money, and hence many many places have free STD clinics that are anonymous and will provide testing and treatment. So, depending on where you live, eliminating the syphilis option might not even cost any money or a trip to your own doctor.
posted by OmieWise at 1:25 PM on September 15, 2009

I'm going syphilis as well.
posted by gramcracker at 9:17 PM on September 16, 2009

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