Did my new apartment give me a rash?
May 17, 2006 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Did my new apartment give me a rash?

I moved into my new apartment Saturday, and Sunday morning my chest itched, but I didn't think much of it.

Now, the itchy place has raised red bumps on it. They're blistery, and easily burst and are filled with clear liquid. The main patch has a red "background" and doesn't turn white when I push on it (blanch?). Some of the bumps have spread outside of the red patch, and are raised, clear, and also burst easily.

There are about 7 or 8 of them, in a spot smaller than a half dollar.

It doesn't seem like it's centered on hair follicles, and it doesn't seem like any acne I've ever had, all 15 zits of my life or so.

What could this be? I really tried to google it but it was more difficult than most.
posted by adamwolf to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Sounds like an allergic reaction to something. I have a similar reaction to certain detergents (Tide for one) but only on contact. Was your new place really well cleaned when you moved in? Maybe they didn't do a thorough job wiping up all the cleaners they used.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:05 PM on May 17, 2006

It could be an allergic reaction to a cleaner (or did you sweat in a new shirt?), but, if it were me, it would just be a reaction to the horrible stress that is moving.
posted by sohcahtoa at 6:09 PM on May 17, 2006

I had this happen right after I moved into my current apartment. I had a seriously awful rash for weeks and my boyfriend had a miserable wheezing fit. Eventually, I started wheezing too.

My rash was localized to places that had touched either the carpet or boxes (which, in turn, had touched the carpet). That is: my legs, the lower parts of my arm, and my hands. So, I blamed it on the chemicals they used to clean the carpet before I moved in. Your chest wouldn't be a spot that would make sense for this, unless you were moving without a shirt on.

I doped up on benadryl until it got bad enough that I went into my M.D. I have a history of bad allergies, though, so here's hoping yours doesn't get any worse.

Long advice made short=> take a few benadryl tabs and see if it goes down.
posted by divka at 7:53 PM on May 17, 2006

IANAD, but I would say you have a garden variety skin infection and merely need antibiotic ointment on the affected area. Could've been caused by anything, really.
posted by frogan at 9:13 PM on May 17, 2006

First, don't scratch the itch. Second, are you talking a NEW, new apartment or just new to you? If it's NEW, then try to ventilate it as much as possible. Leave the windows open, use a fan to move air around and hopefully within a few weeks the harmful stuff will dissipate. Otherwise, yeah, change your detergent. It could be something you came in contact with.
posted by JJ86 at 5:45 AM on May 18, 2006

If the carpeting is new, it could be the sizing in the carpet. If you think that's it, you'd probably have to have it cleaned by a pro, and ask first if that would get rid of it. It's designed not to come out, so I don't know. I can walk into a fabric store and have my eyes swell shut, if something in there has the wrong sizing.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:55 AM on May 18, 2006

Response by poster: The apartment complex is three years old. I'm subleasing for the summer, and it definitely wasn't cleaned before we moved in.
posted by adamwolf at 6:30 AM on May 18, 2006

Most certainly an allergic reaction. Possibilities not yet mentioned are: cat dander, mold/mildew/mites, latex paint/treated plywood or any other home improvement project materials.

Try to air out the place as much as you can. Clean out the place, launder the sheets, pillows, etc. Steroid ointments like Diprolene will help with your allergic rashes. A quick visit to a dermatologist or an internal med/NPs should find you a prescription.
posted by MD06 at 7:49 AM on May 18, 2006

Did the apartment come furnished? How much carpeting is there?

Only a doctor will be able to diagnose you for sure what's going on. I've gotten rashes like this on my hands, and they went away with some cortisone cream.

However: After you break the blisters, do they seem to spread at all later on? Have you noticed any lines--burrows--on your skin? Is the rash super itchy? This is a worst-case-scenario armchair diagnosis, but it could be scabies. I had scabies once. Damn that sucked.
posted by veronica sawyer at 8:15 AM on May 18, 2006

Response by poster: It's not super itchy, and they don't appear linearly. When I get home from work, should I take a picture, or would that be entirely too squicky?
posted by adamwolf at 8:22 AM on May 18, 2006

If it's not the most agonizingly itchy rash you've ever had, like chicken-pox-levels-of-itchy, then it's quite possible it's just a garden variety thing.

I know it's been asked already, but: Do you have health insurance? Can you go to a doctor?
posted by veronica sawyer at 9:08 AM on May 18, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I can go to a doctor, but I didn't want to go if this was something really common I didn't know about. Girlfriend picked up some anti-histamine cream from the store and I'll see what that does.
posted by adamwolf at 1:43 PM on May 18, 2006

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