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August 10, 2007 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Strange swelling on the back of a friend's hand after gardening, with no puncture marks - what could it be?

He says it itched last night, but this morning it's just swollen. No bite marks, no itching and it's a little bit red. FWIW, he was gardening in the suburbs of New Orleans in the summer heat and saw a lot of spiders. I tend to think without bite marks, it couldn't be a spider bite, and it also doesn't have that hard callus-type tissue that spider bites tend to cause.

What do you think it could be? Yes, he already has a doctor's appointment scheduled, but if it's something simple, I'm sure he'd rather not spend the money.
posted by mitzyjalapeno to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Not all spider bites leave obvious bite marks. I'm a gardener, and I get them all the time. Put a little ointment on it and it should feel (and look) better.
But if it persists for a week, then yup, off to the doctor it is.
posted by ducktape at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2007

When I heard gardening I immediately thought of sporotrichosis as a possibility, but that is only one of many possible diagnoses.
posted by TedW at 8:49 AM on August 10, 2007

Could it be an allergic reaction to a plant?
posted by Solomon at 12:38 PM on August 10, 2007

Any chance he was trimming back some Euphorbia? They have a sap that is very caustic (and there are dozens of common varieties in gardens).
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:31 PM on August 10, 2007

ducktape, I think you were right. Although it could have been plant allergies, the doc said it also could have been a spider bite. Either way, when I saw the same friend Saturday night, the swelling had gone down; whether it was from the medicine they gave him or the time elapsed, I'm not sure.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:45 AM on August 13, 2007

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