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itching of the body, mostly upper body (severe)
Anasilva63 posted:
Dear Dr. Michael Land,

I have this severe itching on my upper body. It itches to the point I am loosing my mind. everywhere itching, stomach, back, arms, breasts and now I also have irritation on my face. My face does not itch, just got some pimple like bumps. the other part of my body when I scratch it forms bumps and forms pimple like bumps. I am taking benadryl but once it wears out the itching returns. Is going on for 5 days now. Also not only itch but I have this tingling like someone is poking me with a tiny needle.
Any suggestions?
I read on another discussion about many people having the same symptoms and all have herpes simplex. Is this possible?
Michael H Land, MD responded:
Dear Anasilva63,
Thank you for your direct question. Unfortunately, without actually examining you or seeing photos of the rash, it is nearly impossible to make an accurate diagnosis or recommend a therapy for you.

There are a few possibilities that you may want to consider and discuss with your doctor--sometimes patients may develop acute hives from a viral infection that can be extremely itchy all over. This is called Urticaria and the cause is often unknown. Sometimes, folks get a very itchy rash from something called contact dermatitis (a classic example is poison ivy) where the source is some substance like a chemical or metal like Nickel that causes a delayed but long-lasting reaction on the skin. Insect bites (i.e. from mosquitos) could cause severe itching depending on how many you might have and where they are. There are some viral infections like chicken pox, herpes viruses, etc, that can also cause itching and also burning and last for days to weeks.

Tingling and needle-like sensations suggest maybe a neuropathic cause or another underlying condition that may be more than just a skin condition. For example, patients who have normal skin and no rash may have extreme itching or "tingling" of the skin as a manifestation of iron deficiency.

My recommendation for you would be to have you primary care physician have a close look at the rash. If it is an obvious diagnosis, they will offer treatment that can provide a lot of relief. If it is unclear, they may refer you to a dermatologist or allergist.

I hope this helps.
Best of luck,
jammer423 replied to Michael H Land, MD's response:
Dear Doctor, I am a 47 year old white male in good health. On 01-04-14 I was hospitalized then released on 01-09. I returned to doctor with chest pains on 01-19-14. I was then diagnosed with pleurisy. I returned to work on 01-22-14. On 02-04-14 I returned to ER with an extremely itchy rash covering everything except my face, palms, genitals, buttocks, and soles of my feet. The rash was so itchy I scratched several places and drew blood. The drs there scratched her head, treated me for an allergic reaction, then referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist took a biopsy from my skin. 10 days later the results were in. They were not helpful. The report stated there were no parasites and that the cause may be from some underlying, unknown medical condition. On 02-18-14 I began to experience and stronger, itchy rash that burns like a severe sunburn. On 02-19 I went to the ER and was again given a "cocktail" of drugs that included a steroid, Benadryl, and Pepcid all by IV. The burning, itchy, prickly sensation is so severe now and I can't take anymore. I liken the sensation my body goes through night and day with no relief is like I'm laying naked in a bed of fiberglass, covered up with more fiberglass the arising next morning and splash my entire body with rubbing alcohol. I do have and appointment with a pulmanologist on 03-05-14 at the behest of the dermatologist. In the meantime, I suffer badly everyday with no real answers or hope. My family including my girlfriend have been supportive and have no signs of any rash at all.
I have 2 questions, (1) given this info, do have any suggestions for treament as I tried every topical cremes (over the counter and prescribed)? And (2), what underlying causes in my lungs that could this elusive culprit (I'm a former pack a day smoker. Please help me if you can.
lattelady replied to jammer423's response:
I have the exact same thing. I have beeen dealing with this for 6 months. I work on a Hospice unit and thought I came into contact with someone who may have had scabies. The doc treated me with Ivermectin ( for scabies). I was treated twice and it did help a bit but now is back so bad. They never did a skin scraping and told me to try Zyrtec. It does not work and I have also tried Claritin and that does not work. I can't even enjoy a day off because the itching is so intense. It does feel like fiberglass on the skin. I am not crazy and I have NEVER experienced anything like this before. My family had no itching as of yet. If you come up with an answer Please let me know.
reesie1986 replied to lattelady's response:
Hello lattelady do you by chance wear the yellow gowns to prevent the spread of certain infections in the hospice unit?
crochetgoz replied to lattelady's response:
This sounds so similar to what my husband is experiencing. Intense itching for more than 6 weeks. He takes Benedryl at night and Zyrtec in the morning, and it does no good. The doc even had him on prednisone, with no easing of the itching. He can't sleep or ever get comfortable! He's had two biopsies (negative) and a blood test that was normal. The Dermatologist and GP are stumped and he's going to an allergist next.
I was wondering if you've improved?

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