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Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 6:05pm
My 16yo daughter has had a nasty rash on her hand for the past week or so. DD has been keeping it covered with gauze (so it can breathe) and is trying to keep it dry to promote healing.She has also been dabbing it with rubbing alcohol, and at least some of the time she's adding tea tree oil and lavendar to the alcohol.

On Friday, she wore rubber gloves most of the day while scrubbing a friend's house (for money.) Saturday, the rash looked a whole lot worse, and had spread to all 4 fingers (prior to that, it was only on her pointer and pinky.) Her pinky looked very swollen on Saturday morning. I started giving her benadryl at this point.

It looks about the same today as it did yesterday, so I finally took her to the doctor. I was hoping for a diagnosis, so I could then research natural remedies to treat it. But the doctor at the urgent care center barely spoke English,and was very hard to communicate with. He prescribed keflex, prednisone, and topical clobetasol. He didn't diagnose anything more than "it looks like it's infected" which I'm not sure about- those yellowy patches could be scabs/part of the healing process, and not signs of infection. Besides, even if it is infected, why jump to oral abx that destroy the gut flora?  It's not like this is a life-threatening situation! Shouldn't something topical be tried first?

After checking out all 3 of those meds at, I'm not comfortable filling any of those prescriptions. I walked out of there knowing that prednisone and keflex were over the top, but thought maybe the topical steroid might be appropriate. Until I read on about how this shouldn't be used on skin with known or potential infections.

I still don't know if this is a viral, fungal, bacterial, or allergic rash, or whether or not there's a secondary infection. I still don't know if she'd do better keeping it dry or moist, or if it's contagious. Should she or shouldn't she keep it covered?  I'm not at all comfortable giving her such heavy drugs for a topical problem, but I'm not sure what else to do for her.

She's due for her annual checkup soon, so I'll talk to her pediatrician about it then, but I wonder if she'll have any more appropriate ideas on how to treat this than the dr we saw today.
Posted by: PCUK-Positive, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 6:12pm; Reply: 1
try a few natural things if you think it is a surface problem something as simple as pure olive oil might do the trick, perhaps a little bicarb water.

If the gloves made it worse that was probably the sweating so kept that and water to a minimum.

or a little peroxide 3% spray might help.

then the usual - ultra low sugar low carb diet. starve the little suckers of their food

Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 6:21pm; Reply: 2
I thought it was only candida that feeds on sugars?

I'm not sure I can keep her on a low-carb diet. We just bought so much fruit at the Farmer's Market!

I'll suggest the olive oil to her later. We have plenty in the house, including a plastic bottle in the bathroom that already has lavendar oil added.

How would I use bicarb water on the skin? How much bicarb to how much water, and would she soak her hand or dab it on?
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 6:36pm; Reply: 3
Ruthie take a photo and post it.
Posted by: Chloe, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 7:06pm; Reply: 4
Quoted from ruthiegirl
I thought it was only candida that feeds on sugars?

I'm not sure I can keep her on a low-carb diet. We just bought so much fruit at the Farmer's Market!

I'll suggest the olive oil to her later. We have plenty in the house, including a plastic bottle in the bathroom that already has lavendar oil added.

How would I use bicarb water on the skin? How much bicarb to how much water, and would she soak her hand or dab it on?

Can you use coconut oil topically?  It kills fungal issues really well.

Or...manuka honey.....or soak her hand in a few drops of grapefruit seed extract
and water....All are anti microbial solutions.
Posted by: KimonoKat, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 7:16pm; Reply: 5
Tea Tree Oil, topically?
Posted by: Chloe, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 7:17pm; Reply: 6
Quoted from KimonoKat
Tea Tree Oil, topically?

Another good option...but I'd suggest watering it down.  
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 7:30pm; Reply: 7
I don't currently have coconut oil or manuka honey in the house. I do have olive oil, tea tree oil, and lavendar oil. I could mix together olive oil with lavendar and/or tea tree oil for her.

Right now, DD1 is napping on the couch. I did take one photo of her hand, but it's not a great photo of the rash because it's partially covered with gauze. I can't upload any photos until I locate the wire that fits between the computer and the camera.  :B  I'm just glad the camera has working batteries at the moment. I'll see what I can do about getting the camera functional and taking better pictures of the rash when she wakes up. We need to get the camera working anyway so we can try to sell crafts online.

I guess I can post the photos to my facebook account (and try to set that album to "everybody") unless somebody else has a better suggestion?
Posted by: 14428 (Guest), Sunday, August 7, 2011, 8:05pm; Reply: 8
Sounds like you've gotten some good advice, not sure I can add anything. Interesting that it is only on one hand, which makes it sound like a contact dermatitis perhaps? from an animal? a plant? cleaning agent? Does it itch? Is it open and bleeding? Bumps, blisters? I would think if it were systemic it would be spreading to other parts of the body as well. I agree, a picture would be helpful. Might try making a paste with ginger and turmeric and one of those oils and apply it, then wrap it lightly in gauze to contain the mess...they're both anti-inflammatories and unless she's allergic I doubt they would cause any harm. I would avoid those meds as well. Keep us posted..:)
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 8:15pm; Reply: 9
It's mostly one hand, with one spot on the other hand. It started out on two fingers (pinky and pointer) and then spread to the fingers in the middle. It's not bleeding and it itches a little bit, but mostly where the scabs are healing (and no more than any healing scab would itch.) It had some blisters- some she popped by herself and those got REALLY nasty, some popped on their own and don't look too terrible. Her pinky is worst where she'd popped blisters, they scabbed over, and then she picked off the scabs (because they were already loose skin, like the top half of a blister, and were so thick she couldn't move her finger properly.)

I'm still having trouble finding the cord that lets me upload pictures from my camera into the computer. The house is VERY cluttered right now, and I'm getting dizzy bending over and searching for it. I'm sure it will turn up eventually, but I'm not sure that's going to be today.
Posted by: 14428 (Guest), Sunday, August 7, 2011, 9:01pm; Reply: 10
I'm assuming she's had chickenpox, yes? Blisters, hmmmm...could it be shingles? It usually affects one side of the body only. I had it two years ago in my left eye...very painful, but I made a full recovery. Anyway, has she been feeling under the weather at all otherwise? One spot on the other hand, I think that would rule out shingles...hmmm...the mystery goes on...??) :)
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, August 7, 2011, 11:00pm; Reply: 11
No, she never had chickenpox. Although I regret it now, I let her get the varicella vaccine when she was about 4 years old.

She hasn't been feeling under the weather- she's been a bit cranky, but that can be explained by so many other things (PMS and normal adolescent sibling issues.) I'm not sure how compliant she's been with the O diet.
Posted by: Chloe, Monday, August 8, 2011, 1:08am; Reply: 12
Here's a few slide shows of some skin  problems.  Anything look familiar?

Does it look like impetigo?
Posted by: grey rabbit, Monday, August 8, 2011, 1:38am; Reply: 13
It almost sounds like what my DD2 has, brought on by stress and heat. One time I posted about it and Dr. D responded, said to use oil of oregano and I think, it was a long time ago sorry, to dilute it with olive oil. She tried it and it worked to a limited extent, but she got tired of smelling like and Italian dish :)
What she had is a form of athlete's foot, but is not contagious.  
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, August 8, 2011, 11:36am; Reply: 14
OK, after looking at all those photos, I think it's either a combination of contact dermatitis (aka "rash from plants) and impetigo, or it's something not listed at all. It starts out with those "bubbles" like poison ivy, but then they pop and get yellow scaly stuff where the bubbles were. Plus I think she may have a bit of excema on that hand to begin with, which got worse when she was using alcohol several times a day to try and dry out the rash.

I'm keeping her on the antihistamine, and she's stopped trying to "dry out" the rash with alcohol and has switched to putting olive oil on it instead. Her hands looked much less "angry" last night than they did in the morning.
Posted by: Maria Giovanna, Monday, August 8, 2011, 12:47pm; Reply: 15
[quote=4882]I don't currently have coconut oil or manuka honey in the house. I do have olive oil, tea tree oil, and lavendar oil. I could mix together olive oil with lavendar and/or tea tree oil for her.
this is the best, put 10 drops for 1oz oil , a tspoon of oil !
best wishes ruthie !
Posted by: jayneeo, Monday, August 8, 2011, 3:27pm; Reply: 16
sounds like impetigo....can get from gym mats, or...?
if its contact dermatitus, rubber gloves can be the allergen, my DH had that and had to get a different kind of glove.
Posted by: PCUK-Positive, Monday, August 8, 2011, 3:51pm; Reply: 17
olive oils is what i use with great success if i get athletes foot. but i get it from eating the wrong foods first. sugar!!
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Monday, August 8, 2011, 4:10pm; Reply: 18
I wasn't able to get a picture of her hand this morning before she left to go clean her friend's house. (Funny how she'll don gloves and use harsh chemmicals when she's paid for it, but if our own house needed scrubbing she'd get out of doing it due to her hand.) Last time she used their rubber gloves (not sure what kind exactly) but today she packed some "latex free exam gloves" from home.

I'm keeping her dosed on the benadryl, and she used olive oil with tea tree and lavendar oils on her hand this morning. Then she covered it up with gauze before heading out. Her hand looks MUCH better today, although it's not "all better" yet. I hope it still looks OK this afternoon when she comes home.
Posted by: 14428 (Guest), Monday, August 8, 2011, 8:11pm; Reply: 19
Glad to hear it's getting better!  ;D
Posted by: Chloe, Monday, August 8, 2011, 8:14pm; Reply: 20
Great news..:) That's a lot of healing progress in just 24 hours.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, August 11, 2011, 2:32pm; Reply: 21
As of last night, it was looking better....except for 2 new "bubbles" in slightly different locations.  :-/

Today DD1 is babysitting for some friends- the parents have flexible work schedules, the dad (whom I went to high school with) is an actuary and works from home several days a week, but Thursdays they both need to be in the office, and their housekeeper is on vacation for the summer and the kids came back from sleepaway camp this week.. So, DD1 is babysitting today and the next 2 Thursdays.

Anyway, the mom is a pediatrician and just happened to take a look at DD1's hand this morning before she went to work. She's pretty natural-minded for an MD and understands and respects my reluctance to use oral antibiotics. (I don't think we would have hit it off otherwise.)  She says it's impetigo, definitely bacterial in origin and contageous. She gave DD1 a topical antibiotic cream (she had samples in the house and called me before administering it). She also suggested that she take a bath with some bleach in the water to help kill the germs and keep it from spreading elsewhere on her body, and suggested that I do the same to keep me from catching it. She suggested a few other things that I didn't quite catch on the phone, but I'm sure I'll talk to her again tonight and/or tomorrow to clarify things.

She also suggested that I fill the prescription for keflex (oral antibiotic) if it doesn't look MUCH better in a day or two. I really don't want to destroy her gut flora if I have alternatives!

Now that I know what I'm dealing with, I have a better idea how to go about treating her. I know I can give her raw garlic as an antibiotic rather than the prescription stuff. I wish I'd thought to do that for the past few days, it might have cleared up by now.

I was also planning to buy tea tree oil to mix into the olive oil she was putting on her hands. I'm not sure if that's still necessary, if she's using a topical prescription antibiotic. Then again, maybe it's a good idea for me for prevention.
Posted by: PCUK-Positive, Thursday, August 11, 2011, 3:50pm; Reply: 22
that usually starts between the fingers and is a problem because of the moisture and the temperature and i think starts from animals.

the cream is as bad an idea as the oral antibiotics I'm afraid. although the bleach in the bath is at least a better idea although as i said i would use hydrogen peroxide 3% spray or much higher in a bath.

olive oil would still be my first choice. and a low sugar/carb diet of course. oxo

plus eating anything that is alkaline forming, like lemons juice. (first thing in the morning)
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, August 11, 2011, 4:13pm; Reply: 23
She's been doing well with the olive oil. I added a few drops of lavendar oil to the olive oil, and tried to add a few drops of tea tree oil as well, but there weren't a few drops left in the bottle.  :B I just bought more today, so I'll have the tea tree oil in the olive oil before she applies it again tonight.
Posted by: Chloe, Thursday, August 11, 2011, 8:42pm; Reply: 24
Ruthie, I had impetigo often when I was a child....which is why I intuitively thought this might be
what your daughter had.....The difference then was that doctors didn't routinely give antibiotics
for topical bacterial infections.  My skin just healed on its own with probably nothing more than
time and a stronger immune system.  I remember getting impetigo a few times after having had
Scarlet Fever (which is a strep infection).  So possibly after having taken an antibiotic for S. Fever,
my body was throwing off excess toxins through my skin.

I think the focus would be to boost your daughter's entire immune system.  Cultured veggies...
kvass...and whatever works topically to heal her skin.  I know you're happy with the olive oil
but if you feel you need something else, I would really consider something like Manuka honey both orally and topically if you can find it.  Impetigo is a staph or strep infection and Manuka works well for both.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, August 11, 2011, 10:17pm; Reply: 25
I didn't think to look for the manuka honey at the HFS today, and I'm without a car right now.

I just find it interesting how my Dr friend was telling me how contageous this is, especially if there are any cuts on your hands. Yet, I always have little cuts on my fingers- between picking at my cuticles (I know, it's a bad habit and I should stop) and the inevitable kitchen mishaps when cutting vegetables. But I haven't caught this, not even the slightest little inkling that it might be starting. And we've been in the same house for the past several weeks and I haven't always been so careful about changing the hand towels or sanitizing the doorknobs regularly.

So there's something to be said for having a strong immune system.

Now I just need to figure out what's going on with DD1's immune system, why she's so prone to skin problems (especially on her right hand) and strengthen her. I think she might benefit from giving the nonnie diet a  try (unfortunately, I couldn't afford two secretor tests this month, or I would have had hers tested at the same time as mine.) I'll see what my finances look like in the coming months- I'd love to get her a secretor test and SWAMI for her 17th birthday, but that might not be possible.
Posted by: Captain_Janeway, Friday, August 12, 2011, 3:08pm; Reply: 26
I had impetigo as a child due to scratching from mosquito bites. My family went camping a lot in the summer and I had been bitten by mosquitos while playing outdoors near standing water. A few days later I had impetigo and it was a really bad case. Had to be hospitalized due to fever and large pustules on my arms and legs.

I was given antibiotics and bathed in Phisohex (hexachlorophene) for about 3 to 5 days until I was well enough to go home. Phisohex is some amazing stuff, but it can be  obtained only by Rx. And it is likely only the last resort for flesh eating bacterial infections.

Posted by: PCUK-Positive, Friday, August 12, 2011, 3:14pm; Reply: 27
I'd choose ozone then lol
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Friday, August 12, 2011, 3:27pm; Reply: 28
OK, her hand is looking a lot better this morning- the old spots are healing (as they have been since we started the olive oil) and there are no new blisters! She did use the topical antibiotic twice yesterday (or was it 3 times?) and once this morning. I'm not sure which drug because I didn't see the  tube; my friend squeezed some into a medicine cup for DD to bring home.

I fully trust the rash to heal with natural remedies, but I'm not comfortable "not following medical advice" when I can't avoid doctors seeing her. She saw the urgent care center on Sunday, she's seeing her regular pediatrician on Tuesday, and she's babysitting for my MD friend this Thursday and the Thursday after. I really don't want to risk her PCP calling CPS on me for "medical neglect" if this rash doesn't go away as  fast as they expect it to. So I'm going to fill the prescription for the antibiotic cream, but I'll leave it up to DD1's discretion if she actually wants to use it or not.

I'm also encouraging DD1 to use the olive oil several times a day as well as consume raw garlic. Once this rash is gone, I'm going to encourage her to keep using olive oil on her hands daily as a preventative. So, once this particular infection is gone, I need to figure out how to strengthen her immune system. I'm going to ask the ped to run a vitamin D test on her, and I'm going to talk to DD about compliance, sugar intake, and see if she wants to give the nonnie diet a try.
Posted by: SquarePeg, Saturday, August 13, 2011, 3:54am; Reply: 29
What could happen if your daughter takes the antibiotics is that it won't get rid of the infection.  Then they'd run a culture and perhaps find out it's drug-resistant anyway, which is what happened with our DD.
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