You are not a doctor
April 9, 2010 9:02 AM   Subscribe

You Are Not A Doctor - But you can still help me. Red spots all over my body?

A few days ago i started getting these red spots on my hands. Maybe i didn't notice before, but i have quite a few on my shoulders, top of my back, arms, hands , fingers and near the bottom of my legs.

Im going to see a doctor today so this post is to get a second opinion. Do you recommend getting a blood test too?

I have a history of hayfever and im not sure if this could be an allergic reaction. I am in Mexico right now if climate is an issue.

This started a few days ago when i was in Playa del Carmen (a beach town, very hot) but i can take heat well usually. Maybe it comes from lying in a not so clean hotel bed?

I had a bit of sunburn by the way and some of the spots are where the sunburn was, if thats relevant.

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posted by freddymetz to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it itchy? Sounds like heat rash.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:06 AM on April 9, 2010

The two things that pop into my mind is either an allergic reaction to something, or inset bites. I'd guess the first, but wouldn't rule out the second.
posted by forforf at 9:09 AM on April 9, 2010

Heat rash. I get it every time I go anywhere warmish. Vegas and Mexico are where I've had it most recently. I goes away once I get home. It it itchy? Were your hands near hot pavement/asphalt? I typically get it on my legs (closest to the warm pavement) but last time in Mexico I got it everywhere. It's annoying at worst.
posted by cgg at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: yes its itchy sometimes!

Could it be a symptom for an STD?
posted by freddymetz at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: The thing is, ive been in mexico since last september, in hotter conditions than last week and i never got it!
posted by freddymetz at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2010

Bedbugs or fleas!
posted by mareli at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2010

It's probably heatrash (and probably NOT some sort of bug-bites) or hives related to an allergy in reaction to something new in your environment (pollen?). I have hayfever too, and I sometimes get these bumps. Take an antihistamine and they will probably go away. If you also have asthma you may also develop eczema - this looks like eczema that I sometimes get.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:16 AM on April 9, 2010

If you were on a beach recently, they could also be sand flea bites. Heat rash is more likely, but sand fleas are another possible culprit. Take an OTC antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec; this will help with itching regardless of cause.
posted by workerant at 9:21 AM on April 9, 2010

Heat rash
sand flea bites
chicken pox

Go see your doctor, as planned, and only get a blood test if he recommends it.

And if you are worried about the possibility of STD's, for goodness sake please use condoms!
posted by misha at 9:23 AM on April 9, 2010

Do you have dry skin lately? I ask because I also get that (heat rash) and it's the worst when I have dry skin. Just a thought as to why you might not have seen it until now.
posted by kthxbi at 9:25 AM on April 9, 2010

I am not a doctor, no, but I used to be a clinician at Planned Parenthood. The only STD I know that has a skin rash as one of its symptoms is syphilis, BUT, it's a non-itchy rash on the bottoms of the feet and the palms of the hand. Just wanted to clarify.

My guess is insect bites or heat rash. But probably insect bites. Bed bugs? Sand fleas?
posted by cooker girl at 9:30 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: I dont have asthma and ive already had chicken pox once! So we can rule those two out.
I don't have dry skin either.

Im not sure if it makes any difference, but the beach in playa del carmen is white coral sand..and it looked pretty clean but you never know!
posted by freddymetz at 9:32 AM on April 9, 2010

It seems to be presenting EXACTLY like bites from sand fleas and bedbugs have shown up on me.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on April 9, 2010

You can have eczema without having asthma. I did on my hands, and it looked kind of similar, though the dots were more clustered. I've also had what I think was a heat rash and it looked like that. It seemed to get better by keeping my hands out of the sun and out of gloves.
posted by beyond_pink at 9:43 AM on April 9, 2010

They strongly look to me like flea bites (which do try to bite humans if they're starved). Honestly I don't know about sand fleas, but if they're related that's the direction I would look. I don't think it's bedbugs since the distribution is kind of random.
posted by crapmatic at 9:44 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: I dont think they look like flea bites (which are much bigger, right?)
And there are a disproportionate number of "spots" on my knuckles..where they usually dont bite and none on my chest! How do you explain that?
posted by freddymetz at 9:48 AM on April 9, 2010

The only STD I know that has a skin rash as one of its symptoms is syphilis, BUT, it's a non-itchy rash on the bottoms of the feet and the palms of the hand. Just wanted to clarify.

Secondary syphilis can in fact manifest as a generalized, non-itchy rash on any part of the body, see:
posted by tristeza at 9:50 AM on April 9, 2010

I am going to be the voice of reason, I get these hives CONSTANTLY when I go anywhere new - they're simply allergy hives, and while they itch like a mutha, just slather yourself with Hydrocortisone cream (OTC is fine) twice a day and they'll go away. They look nothing like flea bites, sand fleas, bedbugs, or an STD. I seriously get these type of hives about seven times a year and they stick around for about a week each time. I just pop some OTC allergy pills and stick with the hydrocortisone cream and they clear up.

Also, if you think it might not be an environmental allergy, have you recently started taking Niacin, or something with a large quantity of niacin in it? They might be due to that, I found out I had a wicked niacin allergy last year when I broke out in hives like that all over my body and they lasted for WEEKS because I continued to take my new fancy vitamins. I finally broke down and decided to head to the doctor and he immediately asked me if I had started new vitamins, and that was the culprit!
posted by banannafish at 9:53 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tristeza, I stand corrected.

However, I think the best thing to do is see a doctor, which I see you're doing today, freddymetz. None of us here can really tell you for sure what this rash is. We can all speculate until the cows come home, but it won't make a bit of difference until you see an actual human doctor person who can look at it and ask all the right questions.

An update would be helpful, though, for anyone looking at this thread in the future.
posted by cooker girl at 9:59 AM on April 9, 2010

I was thinking hives too. I have gotten them exactly once in my life:

My boss was giving me a hard time at work, I got home, felt weird, took off my shirt and was covered in red spots.

I got a good night's sleep and they went away. Not saying that's what happened to you, but it could be.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2010

Looks like cholinergic urticaria to me.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:28 AM on April 9, 2010

Sun allergy, I'm willing to bet on it.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:09 AM on April 9, 2010

I'm guessing sea lice. From another website, "Coming to Cancun between March and August? Then you need to know about sea lice and how to avoid them. Known locally as Agua mala (bad water) or pica pica (itchy, itchy) and throughout the world as Seabathers Eruption. Sea lice can be responsible for a painful itchy rash when swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea off the beaches of Cancun, at certain times of the year."
posted by futz at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Count me as another vote for hives. OTC antihistamines and a skin lotion called Sarna do the trick for me.

I had a very very bad outbreak after surgery on a broken leg about 10 years ago, to the point they had to cut off the cast and tell me to be extra careful with my injured limb since I couldn't stand the cast and I had to treat my rash 3 times a day. A topical medicine they used caused and awful reaction. Since then, I've been hypersensitive and get mild cases of hives almost weekly.

Now, I get them on my forearms, legs and behind my ears. Argh! Benedryl works great for me, fortunately. I don't know what the culprit is, but I suspect shell fish, fish, rice or the chemicals used on the rice, and some vegetables.
posted by rw at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2010

I came back from Playa Del Carmen in January with rashes that looked a lot like yours all over my body. I also had a few spots that were diagnosed as allergic reaction to jellyfish larvae (those rashes were especially painful), also known as sun bather's eruption, most likely from snorkeling in Cozumel.

Upon getting back, I was able to get an emergency appointment with my dermatologist because the itching and pain had become unbearable. The small red dots were diagnosed as diagnosed as sand flea bites. I was prescribed a steroid cream (Lidex 0.05%) for three weeks, as well as OTC Benadryl at night and a non-drowsy antihistamine in the morning. Things got better pretty much overnight once I started using the medications.

I'm still waiting for my scars to heal completely.
posted by halogen at 1:29 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't think it is chicken pox. BUT, one can get chicken pox more than once. I know this, since it happened to me.

From the CDC:

Can you get chickenpox more than once?

Yes, but such occurrences are uncommon. For most people, one infection appears to confer lifelong immunity.

But what you have sounds like heat rash
posted by fifilaru at 6:25 PM on April 9, 2010

Are they fluid-filled? I get contact dermatitis with little clear-fluid-filled bumps.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:22 PM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: UPDATE: Its gone now. I was prescribed Andantol pills and this prurix cream. After two days of usage they disappeared, maybe due to the medicine, maybe just like that!
posted by freddymetz at 7:54 AM on April 14, 2010

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