Help, im itchy!!!

cassieinmass(6)May 13, 2009

So for the last week ive been extremely itchy with a rash all over my arms and chest. Ive been to the doctor and she said its a contact dermatitis, which means im allergic to something ive been touching or carrying. There has been nothing new ive been using, no new clothing, and all ive been carryign around and touching has been gardening stuff. I dont have poison ivy and am aware of what that looks like, but im not so sure of other poisonous plants or weeds I might be touching...Is there any veggie plants that cause rashes if touched alot? Can you guys give me any ideas for what may be doing this?!?!?! -Cassie

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Some people have a reaction to tomato leaves, also potato or eggplant leaves (all in the same family). Arms and chest breaking out sounds like something you carried (not too many plants try to jump down a blouse front!). Lantanas also cause a rash in some folks, and if you've been lugging around large bags of mulch or fertilizer, there might be something in either that you are sensitive to.
Gold Bond cream stops the itch for me (lantana is so pretty, but so-o-o-o-o irritating!).
Hope you find out who the culprit is--gardening is too much fun to have to stop and scratch every whipstitch!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 4:46PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


Not related to your itchy skin at all, but several years ago I spent most of one day cutting and pulling ancient vines that had wrapped around trees and were covering the ground where I lived. Some of them were wrist-thick, so all I could do was saw through them and let them die in place. I wore long pants and sleeves and gloves, but apparently that wasn't good enough.

Two days later I had a rash on my arms and chest that was maddening, crazy-making. By the time I got to a doctor, I was ready to scream!

Turns out it was wood mites, kin to chiggers but even smaller, which I'd never ever heard of. He gave me a prescription for basically a tube of insecticide about three inches long that cost $120.00. I was to rub it in twice. Well, it didn't do a thing to alleviate the itching or kill the mites.

Then an old country woman in the grocery store line told me to take a bottle of ammonia outside and pour it all over the rash. I was totally desperate by this time, so I did. I had to turn my head away from the fumes, but the itch was almost immediately alleviated and by nightfall the red rash was gone. That stuff killed those mites dead! The ammonia didn't injure my skin, though it stung a little when I poured it on.

Certainly an unconventional treatment but it worked like a charm! I should have found her first, before going to the doctor!

Anyway, my sympathies about an itchy rash resulting from outdoor work, regardless of its source. I certainly hope you can find the culprit and avoid it from now on!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:12PM
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Milk of magnesia (sp?) bath & you'll be good to go. Find out what's causing it though, silly! :) You do know mater plants can possibly cause that, right? My arm has been itchin like a fiend the past day or so too! Hence, garden swear the pair I have out on my porch has been sitting there unused for almost a some spiders up in 'em now. Like anney says, watch out for chiggers, if you even have them in Mass..

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:32PM
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Radishes do it to me. If I go near those things without gloves or long sleeves I feel it for days...especially when I first get into the shower afterwards.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:44PM
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Cilantro and squash plants are my itch producers. I have to wear long sleeves and gloves when working with squash, and I don't try to grow cilantro anymore at all since I can't eat it either.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 6:14PM
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Ok, soooo....Ive handled tomato plants for the last 8 years with no problem other than my hands turning green from them...Cilantro I have growing but only seedlings and I havent been lugging them around. I HAVE been touching and doing lots of cutting down of tree limbs that I can get with a pair of pruners and carrying them to put them into a pile. Ive been carrying around fertilizer and miracle grow garden soil bags...You know, now that I think of it they say you should use gardening gloves when touching miracle grow, and me being the "die-hard" gardener that thinks "Gloves?!, I dont need no stinkin' gloves!" and then working barehanded all day long and taking a shower hours later after coming in...Hmmm....I wonder if its the miracle grow....
It bites because now my doctor wants me to take steroids and they make me MORE itchy and act like im on speed. Im really dreading taking them...
To make matters even worse is she found a lump in my neck that she wants to "wait a couple weeks to see if it goes away and if it doesnt, I need to get it worked up" So now im worried... BLAH!!!!! -cass

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 7:40PM
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Squash are a temporary problem for me. Usually the rash goes away in minutes, but its never pleasant. There are any number of ornamentals that cause problems. Sometimes they are only a problem under certain weather conditons, such as sunny weather, when the oils in the plant are volatilizing.

Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a big problem for some people, though not really common in gardens. The milky sap of euphorbias are also a serious problem for a minority (?) of people.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:25PM
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I get an itchy rash on my arms every time I pick beans. It must be something with the leaves because I can handle and eat the beans themselves.

Hope you figure out what caused the itch and that the lump turns out to be nothing!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Why is it that us gardners have the most medical problems?!?! You don't want to see my list. Just one old item that still haunts me every now and then is my deformed left arm. Unless I show you, it looks pretty normal. Take an x-ray of it & you see the 2 and 1/2 bones in it that got me kicked out of the Army. :-\

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 10:35PM
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I got contact dermatitis once from gardening too and never learned the culprit. Unfortunately I 'enriched' my compost pile while I was out there and got 'natural male enhancement' that was decidedly NOT worth the side effects.

I've always figured that I probably pulled a poison oak seedling when it was too small to identify. Since I've found a couple other poison oak seedlings that were only a couple inches high in the garden. I just use a shovel to decapitate them and bury them under the mulch where I find them.

However, there are a number of other plants that are likely to cause dermatitus, most plants in the euphorbia family (gopher plant and many other weeds and ornamentals) are both toxic and can cause dermatitis, spurges are euphorbias and are a common weed, also oleander is extremely toxic and irritating to the skin. Those start to burn pretty quickly though.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 12:35AM
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lol!!!!! That must have sucked!!!!!!!!My culprit is Poison Sumac!!!! I found pictures of what ive been cutting down for the last 5 days!!!! No sweeling for me yet, but its still getting worse even as we speak!!! BLAH!!!! -Cass

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 5:45AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hi Cass,

I responded to your other post.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 11:19AM
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Try a product called Technu, it removes the oils from whatever is making you itch. My husband has a severe allergy to poisin ivy, and ironically emough is allergic to callamine lotion!!! he works out doors and is exposed all the time, but it works really good.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 11:28AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

I wouldn't worry about the lump in your neck. If you have a crazy itchy rash (which I see you found the culprit) it can make your lymph nodes work overtime until the infection is cleared.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 3:23PM
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Thats what im hoping cookie!!!! I have a history of cancer when I was 25 (im 29 now) so any lump or bump I worry about...But ill wait and see, im on steroids now so hopefully it will make this go down too!!! :) -cass

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 7:37PM
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