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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Localized moving recurring rash

 jennifer1234 - Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:26 am

A couple of weeks ago I developed a rash on my neck. It was very itchy, red, and overall a little swollen. No bumps or leakage. The neck was itchy and after some scratching is when it became red, etc. I treated with Aveeno anti-itch cream and it went away in a few days.

I have the same thing again but it is now on my left breast extending up stopping short of the clavicle and extending just a bit under the armpit. Once again the area itched and so I scratched it fairly well. Area then became very red, extremely itchy, and overall a bit swollen. There are a few welts.

Could this be an allergic reaction? The only change I can think of is a new soap and lotion. However, I've used both products before in the past with no problems. Also, can I have a rash in just one certain area if I use the soap/lotion for my entire body? Or perhaps this is something else? Thanks.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:23 pm

User avatar Hi there --

While this is probably an allergic reaction, your point about the soap and lotion acting selectively in certain areas is well taken. If that's not what's caused it then it may be a nerve inflammation instead, mediated by a virus. This is usually either varicella or its sequel, herpes simplex, as shingles. This will follow nerve pathways, and can show up in more than one area. If you ever had chickenpox then sooner or later you're likely to have some sort of eruption of this, so it has to be considered as well as allergy.

Of course it could also be an allergic reaction to something else, but it does sound like it's followed nerve pathways both times the way shingles will do. Shingles usually is a very painful thing, however.

I wish I could give you a more concrete answer, but this is the sort of thing that often requires extensive detective work to narrow down the field to the actual cause. If you have any other information or ideas, please share them with us, and do follow up with us here anyway. Best of luck to you.

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