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Have itchy fluid filled bumps on leg. Could this be chiggers or poison ivy?

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Hi, I got a few bumps on my legs a few days ago, the pussed up, broke, and more bumps around them formed, they seem to be on both legs now and itch really bad...some are filled with fluid, some aren't. I saw a pharmacist and said it looked like chiggers or poison ivy, but wasn't sure.
Posted Sun, 19 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

The photographs that you have sent and the description suggest that you are having folliculitis - infection of the hair follicle. This infection is spreading locally by involving surrounding follicles and not healing. I suggest that you consult a doctor, start an antibiotic and get yourself tested to rule out diabetes mellitus.

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction. Please revert back in case you need any clarifications or would like to share more facts.

Wishing you an early recovery.


Rajiv K Khandelwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have itchy fluid filled bumps on leg. Could this be chiggers or poison ivy? 1 hour later
I was in the woods last week for about 2 hours, my friend also got all of these on his arm and they continue to spread and itch really bad.

I've added 3 new pictures of what they look like, they seem to start small, then pop, then they grow, then pop, and once they scab over, they turn red and look like they start to heal. The itching is really bad, do you really think that is folliculitis? I have about 15 separate bumps only on my legs, specifically the calves, and they haven't spread anywhere else. I had one on the back of my knee, and then a day or so later there was one directly on the calf where that one (on the back of the knee) looked to be rubbing. It looked like because of the position, it popped and spread to the part that was rubbing when I run/bike/ or walk.

Could this be poison ivy? My friend and I both got it and I had shorts and a sweat shirt on, he had pants and a t-shirt on, but he has it on his arms and I have it on my legs. It doesn't seem like folliculitis to me.

DO you have another possibility that you think it could be based off of these facts and the pictures that I've added? What kind of cream or what should I be doing to treat it?

Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 14 minutes later

Thanks for sharing the photographs and the detailed history which make me change my diagnosis. It is certainly not a reaction to ivy.

As the lesions are on the exposed part, first appear as a blister and then pus formation I would consider them to be infected insect bite. The application of hydrocortisone ointment is delaying the healing.

I suggest that you stop applying hydrocortisone ointment, refrain from itching it and give it time to heal. You can continue applying Neosporin ointment but if there are too many lesions then a systemic antibiotic would be more helpful.

I hope I have cleared your doubts to your satisfaction.

Wishing you an early recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have itchy fluid filled bumps on leg. Could this be chiggers or poison ivy? 8 minutes later
Also, when I first noticed the two larger bumps on my left leg, they popped and got bigger, and more bumps formed around them, they are the largest bumps but haven't gotten bigger since, they have scabbed and look like they are healing...but other small bumps have appeared and seem to take the same course.

Could this be chiggers? A pharamcist told me to put hydrocortizone cream on it? Your telling me not to? I paid $20 for this and now I have no idea what is going on?

Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 40 minutes later

I appreciate your concern.

Hydrocortisone is delaying the healing. Secondly the fluid which is oozing out is causing problem around the initial lesion.

Scab formation is a good sign but the hydrocortisone is delaying the healing process. At times a thick scab does not reveal what is happening below it.

Chiggers are insects. The bite XXXXXXX does not reveal the type of insect which has bitten you.

I will rather not comment on the other questions you have regarding the pharmacist's opinion.

I wish you an early recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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