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Family Physician

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What causes itchy rash all over body?

Answered by
Dr. Klarida Papaqako

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2010

Answered : 1605 Questions

Posted on Wed, 6 Jun 2018 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: My mom, a 68 year old, black woman, woke up feeling a bit sick. Headache, and stomach upset. She went to bed early and woke up the next morning with a rash that covers most of her body. She is itching and irritated because of it. She does not recall eating anything new that would cause an allergic reaction, nor has she tried a new perfume, lotions, or medicines. Any suggestions as to what illness should be considered?
Answered by Dr. Klarida Papaqako 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Possible allergic reaction.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for using Healthcaremagic to post your health query.
I read carefully your question and I reviewed the photos.

Generalized rash which is itchy, is most probably because of an allergic reaction.
If it was something viral or bacterial, your mother would have fever or other systemic symptoms.

Sometimes allergy happens until 2 weeks after exposure to an allergen. Sometimes a person may develop an allergy with life. Has she used any antibiotic in the last 2 weeks? Because antibiotics give a late allergic reaction.

The steroid and benadryl would treat the allergy and make your mother feel better. The personel at the ER most probably have thought allergy as a diagnoses, that is why they have prescribed those medicines.

I recommend that your mother continues to use the prescribed medicines. She should be better very soon.

If worse or not better in 24-48 hours, then she should go again to the ER or to the local doctor to run further tests to understand if there is any chance it can be viral or bacterial problem.

Hope this is helpful.
Let me know if you need more clarifications.

Dr. Papaqako

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Klarida Papaqako 32 minutes later
Thank you for your response, however as mentioned in the original conversation, she has not done, or tried anything new in the last few weeks. This is not a localized rash. It is from the top of her head, neck, back, stomach legs, and private areas. I don't know any allergic reaction that causes all of that. I was not with her when she initially went to the dr., or I would have asked all of these questions. But when I did find out, I thought this is not good, and wanted a 2nd opinion.
Again, prior to the rash, she may have had a fever, due to the ill way she was feeling but currently does not.
Answered by Dr. Klarida Papaqako 13 hours later
Brief Answer:
More possible to be allergic, but can be viral too (self limited).

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for the follow up question.

I understand your concerns.
I want to reassure you that there are allergic rashes which spread in all the body, when the allergy is not from something in contact but from something she has eaten/in her blood. The fact that it is spread so fast and in such a spread way, makes it more possible to be allergic. The fact that it is that itchy makes it more possible too.

The rash can be viral too, especially if she has fever, but it will not need any treatment in this case, except to relieve the itchiness, because these rashes are self limited.

I don't think she has a disease, because it would have affected her well being by now, and have many other symptoms. And for more, it would not have been spread like this.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana

The User accepted the expert's answer

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