The mysterious rash continues

I never thought I would write so often about ‘Timan’s health issues when I started this blog. But it seems like that’s what I’m doing every couple of weeks. Because it’s really bothering me and what parent wants to see the child suffering. Yuck.

In the first 2 1/2 years of his life the tot had no problem what so ever. Apart from a couple of throwing up incidents, which cleared within less than six hours, he didn’t have a single health problem, nothing, nada, nuet.

But starting about half a year ago it seems like we don’t get out of the sickness circle. First the stomach problems that ended with a ruptured appendix, two surgeries and a stay in UCI and now a mysterious rash that we can’t seem to get rid of.

‘Timan’ has this nasty itchy rash all over his body. It started early July and I thought it was a simple Prickly Heat Rash. But now I’m convinced it isn’t and actually never was. Another three weeks have passed since I fist wrote about it. We did three more visits to the Pediatrician and we are still dealing with it. And it actually has gotten worse.

Both times, about 2 days after the oral hydrocortisone stopped, the rash came back. Another treatment with stronger oral antibiotics followed, because by now the little one was diagnosed with a staph infection. But in spite of oral antihistamines he kept scratching himself bloody at night.

And every morning the tot wakes up with one or both eyes swollen. He was given oral hydrocortisone because the swelling didn’t go away but now his eyes look normal after one or two hours, but the itching persists.  The next thing is completely dry and itchy skin around the eyes, the excessive scratching and wiping is turning the whole area red and irritated.



The pictures might not look too alarming, but the itching and pain the rash is causing must be very intense.

The whole situation is extremely frustrating, for ‘Timan’ maybe not so much as for me. I wake him up at night to take his 4th dose of antibiotics just to find him moving from one side to the other in his sleep and scratching his whole body. He’s taking oral antihistamine twice a day, I apply moisturizer in form of unscented petroleum jelly for sensitive baby skin numerous times a day and in the middle of the night and he still keeps scratching himself bloody, especially on the side of his thighs and behind his knees.

And the rash on the rest of his body doesn’t disappear anymore. So much I want to help my little son, but nothing seems to work. He is getting more and more restless, I feel his behaviour is changing too and I have to admit, I’m feeling I’m reaching my limit as well.

The Pediatrician, the only private one on the island, told me the next step would be looking for the reason in our house, the environment we are living in. But still, she doesn’t want to label his rash as an Atopic Dermatitis, as of yet. Which is good I guess.

My gut feeling is that it was (and still is) caused by an allergic reaction.

We need to find the cause for ‘Timan’s allergy and this is not an easy task, especially here in Paradise. There are no patch tests available here and there is no dermatologist in the country either.

I wrote about my suspicion before and now I’m almost 100% convinced that all this is caused by our tap water. The water in the two storage lakes on the island is getting less and less and the water quality worse by the minute. The PUC (Public Utilities Corporation, responsable for the water treatment) has changed or increased the chemicals. Whatever chemicals they are using, Chlorine, Chloramine or something else (nobody can tell me for sure), they are the culprits that are causing the rash. Sometimes I have the feeling I’m itching too, caused by the water or by my imagination, I don’t know.

Nevertheless I’m also considering a food allergy even tough I hardly believe it is. The only thing I can think of adding to ‘Timan’s diet in the last two or three month is olive oil.

But anyway, a couple of days ago I took him off milk, cheese, yoghurt, foods with flavor enhancers (E635 and such) and olive oil.

However the most important change was using bottled water for everything. For ‘Timan’ to drink, cook food he’s eating, brush his teeth, wash his hands and take his bath. But how do I get the chemicals out of the laundry? And we keep hoping ‘Timan’s skin is going to take a turn for the better. But when?

Did you ever have such an itchy rash all over the body or eczema caused by chemicals in the tap water (e.g. Chlorine or Chloramine)? How and after what time did the symptoms clear?


Do you want to know what happened later? Find out here:

The mysterious rash – did we get rid of the eczema? (part 1)‘ – January 6, 2012

and read how we got rash and eczema under control without steroids:

The mysterious rash –  did we get rid of the eczema? (part 2)‘ – January 9, 2012

Every person is reacting differently, it’s a matter of finding out what works for you. Good luck. 🙂


Posted on August 13, 2011, in 'Timan', Complication, Doctor, Eczema, Paradise, Shortage, Sick, Water Supply and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Michaela M Hearl

    Might be MITES. They are an microscopic allergen aka scabies. But child doctors always just say eczema.

  2. It is Eczema! All of my children have had this. If not handled quickly, it spreads like wildfire. It will get infected if scratched. Now, you’re going to have a much worse issue if that occurs. Go to an Allergist/Immunologist. Have the blood tests done. Make sure to check for autoimmune diseases and/or photosensitivity. They can tell you exactly how to treat your case. They’ll tell you your triggers that cause it. Take baths with oat meal that you rub on your skin. Use Hydrocortisone cream/ lotion after you rinse off. Warm baths. No hot or cold ones. Cold compresses help the painful rashes. Lotions like Cetaphil and Eucerin work well all over the body. They have formulas just for eczema. Gold Bond has a powerful formula for feet, hands, elbows, etc. Drink a lot of fresh untreated water and wear 100% cotton clothes. Stay cool. It helps so much. PS stay out of the sun or UV lights. It makes it really bad. Take your multivitamin and eat fresh.

  3. hi just saw this posting… I have a similar situation…. did you ever find out what it was and how to treat it?

  4. I just found your post and my son has the same rash. Did you ever identify the cause? My email is if you have time I would love to chat. I can be slow to check my email though haha

  5. Can you please help us? We are in same stage as this post and wish could do something for our baby. Can you please send me an email at please please

  6. Rachael Thrasher

    I had a similar issue, although it remained on my face and forearms. After 2 years of this and many doctors and lotions, antibiotics, etc. I finally convinced my dr to to an E95 blood test. The blood test, test for antibodies against 95 different common foods and/or proteins in the food. The doctors all said its not a food allergy. Well we were all shocked that I am very allergic to all dairy- the protein found in it, and BEEF was off the charts as well! Since eliminating those I no longer get the rash! (and just in-case if you were wondering, no I was not symptomatic of lactose intolerance) Good luck. Rashes suck!

  7. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of info on your blog.

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  8. i had this for a long time would come on suddenly I used all the creams some worked to relieve the itch but was weird was the rash traveled would clear and move to another body part finally saw someone that put me on 4mg of Periactin 3 times a day I never got it again. I have been off that med for sometime now and have not had it return. I still live in the same house with the same water doing and eating the same thing.

  9. Hi I have the same type of rash, I find out the sun light triggers it and the rash dries off and falls if you put alcohol in it, gel alcohol works really well. I only have this rash in my hands and arms, I think it’s some type of virus triggered by UV light, even if I use sun screen I get tre rush if I don’t apply it every 2 hours. You can try and see if the problem is the sun, I also have digestive problems, I was diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I don’t know if digestive problems are related to this type of rash or not. Please contact me if protecting him from UV light and using alcohol to get rid of the rash works out. Good luck! 🙂

  10. Omg I have the same thing as your son and it’s annoying I took antibiotics and nothing helps it’s been going on for a month now spreading from my underarms to my legs arms stomach ugh I can’t stand the itching I can’t sleep at night cause of the itching I don’t know what else to do I’ve never had any allergies to anything I hope it goes away soon..

    • *****FOLLOW UP*****
      So the last time I was on here I had just seen a doctor.. No a doctors “PA” and she said I had Scabies!! Ugh.. Just the thought of the word makes me itch! That same evening I went to my moms house to pick up my kids, she asked what did my doctor said and I told her Scabies. She looked at me awkward and then told me to take my clothes off. Mind you, my mother is a MA at a dermatologist office for 13 years. After my mom examined me she flat out said this is NOT Scabies! She said it looks like contact dermatitis.. Or in other terms eczema! She insisted I see her dermatologist Dr the following day to get a correct diagnosis. You have no idea how RELIEVED I felt when she said it wasn’t Scabies! The next day I seen the dermatologist doctor and actually two doctors came in and examined me. Both said I have a bad case of eczema!! They gave me some cremes and soaps and hydrocortisone sent me on my way. I find that allergy medicine like Benadryl in pill form works great with helping me stop itching and swelling but it does make me drowsy. That night I went online and searched natural websites about how to ease eczema. I found that organic coconut oil cold pressed or extra virgin olive oil works amazing in a bath of warm water.. Just soak in it for 15 mins.. Skin feels great after! Or rub it on you after your shower when you skin is still damp. When I do start itching, I love my tea tree oil.. It does the job and the cool affect of it helps me stop plus the smell opens up your nose!! I also got my hands on organic coconut lotion and kukui nut oil.. Lather yourself in it after a shower while the skins still wet will help your skin stay hydrated all day or night. My best advise is never try to self diagnose yourself.. Seek professional care and always get a second opinion. Also try to stay away from the cremes and soaps and crap doctors will give you.. Search the web, go natural and pure.. Trust me your body will love it and you can figure out what works best for you without all the chemicals and what not! GOOD LUCK and I hope this helps!!!!

  11. Possible scabies? I just found out today I have scabies. In my 3 weeks of hoping it would disappear and in denial of having scabies.. I started to google and research myself. I can across this blog because the same exact pictures and symptoms this child was having was the same I was having. It scabies!! Now that I know what I have it’s a relief and now can treat it but now I have to treat my home, my children before they get it and everything I am in contact with needs to be treated. Good luck.

  12. Hello I hope and pray you still use this blog. I have a three year old son whom has a very similar skin rash all over his body from his face to his toes. It itches him as well and I believe it is an allergic reaction but as to what I’m not sure. Everything has been the same except that he started at daycare two weeks ago. How did you get his rash to finally clear up? Any advice you can give to help me manage the rash and symptoms?

    • I had the same thing. It was horrible and escalated. I changed my diet and it’s been gone over a year now. You can develop allergies over time to anything you’re exposed to repeatedly. It’s called an acquired allergy. I know I’m highly allergic to nickel but after being repeatedly tested for dietary allergies absolutely nothing showed up. However, I tried changing my diet anyway because they don’t test for any additives, and our food is full of them…. Magically I’m cured. I fought symptoms for a decade and saw several specialists. Try changing his diet. 🙂

  13. My daughter (4.5) has eczema, too. It comes and goes and it’s the second year that we struggle with it. I’m pretty convinced our tap water has something to do with it ,too. As a matter of fact that’s how it started showing up first in the bath tub. Red patches. She does also have an allergy to cow’s milk, string beans, cauliflower and sweet potatoes (confirmed by the skin test) but quite honestly I’m not sure it really affect her break outs. I can’t put a finger on it. I limit the dairy consumption as much as I can but she does eat it. Her skin is very, very dry and sometimes red patches, almost hives-like show up. It’s almost impossible to figure it out what triggers the breakouts. I blame the dry climate, (Los Angeles), water and of course things in her diet. Even mangoes were a suspect for awhile. It can get sooooo frustrating.
    I wanted to ask what was the dose of Urticalcin you gave your son? Perhaps I should try that.
    Last year I did Primrose oil for a month (orally) and i think it helped. It made her skin almost “oily” to the touch.
    Very nice blog.
    Thank you,

  14. It looks like scabies. Have you tried tee tree oil baths or a 5% pyrmythrin perscribed by your dr? Scabies don’t always show up in a skin scraping and you can get them head to toe. They are awful

  15. What island are you on? I hope your baby gets better! Mines is suffering also from a mysterious rash that the doctors called scabies today and its the 3rd time going to the hospital this week. It looks very similar and has persistently spread for the past 5 days.

  16. I found this looking for a similar rash on myself. I’m with you on it being an allergic reaction but, to what I am not sure. To be honest, the itching is not extreme and I usually just notice the bumps when feeling around or scratching a normal itch. I am drinking tap filtered through a Pur but, I don’t think it gets everything out. I think it may have something to do with the food if you consider that it appeared on him around the age I imagine you started giving him more varied solid foods. I need to get some self discipline as I want to mark the culprits along the lines of gluten, HFCS, natural/artificial flavor or even just fluoride in the water. When I was a child in florida, the water was fluorinated. I was constantly sick until we moved to an area that did not put fluoride in the water. Fluoride not only retards brain development but, it sucks calcium from the body. The irony that they told us it was good for our teeth… except for those mysterious spots which all my dentists attributed to fluoride.

  17. Hi!
    My daughter has eczema that looks just like the pictures You presented. When ever I stop applying her typical cream she breaks out a couple days after. Because I forget to go to the proper pharmacy to get her prescription I’ve been applying cocoa butter. That has helped greatly with the rash and itching. So much so I haven’t needed to get her prescription. People usually grow out of the eczema but she’s had it for a couple years now.
    When I had eczema it looked much different. I used to be covered in a very itchy and painful rash. Now I just Get small patches from time to time. With that said I’m confident my daughter will grow out of it.
    I recently changed her lotion to Eucerine. Since she started using that she’s broken out very badly which is very surprising. It’s supposed to be a good lotion and was recommended by her doctor. She also has a fever so it might not be the lotion but it is odd timing. the rash she has now looks just like the pictures You provided but with a few larger bumps surrounded by a cluster of smaller ones. I’m taking her to the doctor to see if it’s chicken pox or an allergy.

  18. My baby is dealing with the same rash for about 2 months, looks exactly the same! I just don’t know what to do anymore and the doctors can’t seem to figure it out… She has it on her thighs, stomach, neck, chest, and now her face… She’s been itching it raw in her sleep, I think I’m going to start putting gloves on her hands when she sleeps :/

  19. I actually have that exact samae rash too and am suprised to hear you say it might be from the water when i was just notified on the news like 2 weeks ago warning us of the new chemicals theyre putting in our water. my rash is on the inside of my forearm and seems to grow. my mom told me that it might be nerve rash. maybe cause it gets appears more when im nervous?

  20. I have been fighting the same thing 5 years.

    i have been treated with antibiotics, steroid pills creams and injections, and antihistamines (atarax).
    I have had my skin biopsied and scraped multiple times, blood work multiple times, eliminated gluten (rye wheat barley, etc) from my diet… To no avail.

    i have noticed that it does flare up when I take I shower.

    I also noticed if I eat meat, lettuce, eggs, and cheese ONLY it improves. The less carbs I eat the better.

    I also have what is called angioedema with it which is pretty painful sometimes. Antiinflammatories don’t help it much at all. I just have to ride it out. Recently it has gotten so bad I have been in a constant break out with the stuff for over a month with no relief. Usually it flares up and fades out. It is almost always on the underside of my forearm. That finally healed and now it’s covering my chest, neck, scalp, and shoulders. Nearly every other time I have only had this on my forearms. It also covered my face at one point and now I just have it mostly by my eyebrow.

    I wonder if its the water too.
    I also wonder if its nickel or some other heavy metal that is typically found in our grains, and nearly everything that grows out the ground. Hence why meat and cheese don’t bother me. I only eat the lettuce for obvious reasons lol.

    I am contemplating going on a nickel free diet now.
    Gluten free did not work.

    Nickel is in nearly all plants. (It’s in our soil)
    In all canned food
    In the pipes from plumbing (I let the water run 15 min before taking a shower)
    Cigarette smoke
    Chocolate, tea, you name it.
    Pretty much everything but meat eggs and dairy lol
    Some foods have higher nickel content than others, and sometimes it depends on the location the food is grown to determine the nickel content.

    I know I have a severe nickel allergy because I can’t wear fake jewelry, have metal on my purse, wear fake belt buckles, even that little metal piece in the inside if my jeans from the button makes me itch and break out in a horrible rash. When I was younger I just had the typical fake earring reaction and didn’t think much of it.

    For some reason no dr has brought nickel up as a possibility. I have seen several dermatologists, a rheumatologist, two allergists, multiple regular family practice doctors, and ER doctors.

    I have been misdiagnosed over and over again.

    The majority of them don’t take me seriously until I take pictures and show them. Then they’re concerned mainly from the swelling.

    The itching is absolutely maddening sometimes. I have cried of frustration. Especially when the rash first comes out it looks disgusting. I have seen people staring at it multiple times.

    The only thing that helps the itching for me is atarax. It also heals much faster if I take it. But it makes me feel hung over all day long.

    From what I have found Antabuse is used in other countries (the US hasn’t exactly accepted the severe nickel allergy yet hence all the doctors ignorance but it is on the rise so I believe it will be addressed eventually). Supposedly it blocks the body from absorbing nickel, therefore preventing an allergic reaction.

    So the nickel mess is ONE if my theories, but I am making sure now the dr I am going to rules all autoimmune disorders etc right now. I am also often fatigued, and have GI issues sometimes. Acid reflux and fatigue are sometimes symptoms of an allergic reaction.

    Nickel allergy is an acquired allergy. I believe this too is an acquired allergy due to the fact that it is getting progressively worse over time. It also seems to be a delayed reaction at times. If I wear the belt with nickel I will itch nearly immediately. It used to take days. BUT the rash doesn’t follow immediately.

    I am to the point that I want to walk in the dr office and ask for Antabuse lol.

    Anyway, I typed all of this on my phone so forgive the errors and unorganized layout.

    I am hoping this helps you, and possibly anyone else with this.

    I really believe it is in our diet and probably water supply also.

  21. Have you tried removing wheat and other gluten containing grains, like barley and rye, from his diet? They are notorious for causing and/or aggravating skin conditions.

  22. my daughter has the same rash on her chest and top of her shoulders moving around to her back. There are also two patches on her inner thighs. It is from the chlorine in the swimming pool she goes to swimming lessons in. I am sure. It gets aggrivated by her sweating in the night as its summer here.

  23. Hi, Ive just come across your blog, looking for pictures of eczema on the back of knees. My little girl is mixed race and it looks the same as your picture. Im glad you have managed to help your little boy with his rash. I hope I can get to the bottom of my daughters eczema.

  24. Look up acropustulosis…My daughter had it. This sounds similar 🙂

  25. What about scabies?

  26. I came across your blog looking for an answer for my rash. It looks exactly like your son’s and I’ve been unable to find a solution. I asked my dermatologist about it and she told me the exact same thinf about it being caused by the heat. The thing is that I only get it when I go out of town, which is the confusing part. I’m also convinced that it’s an allergy reaction; just need to figure out to what.

    • The rash on my sons face, neck and torso has cleared after using untreated water we got from the mountains. It took over one month. But the one under his arms comes and goes. It’s related to heat and scratching because of the sweat that is causing the itch. The one behind his knees is more an eczema. I took him off milk and milk related products and it helps a bit. I know Tomatoes cause a flare up on his legs. And running with bare feet in the grass. I’m still trying to find out what else is causing it. It’s very time consuming. Good luck with finding the reason for yours.

  27. Oh no. I can’t even imagine how helpless you are feeling right now. How frustrating to not be able to pin point where this is coming from. It looks so painful. Poor babe. Sending you much needed hugs. You’re doing everything that you can momma.

    • Thank you for the hugs, they are so much needed. I think, no I’m pretty sure, it’s the water. But even when we’re using only bottled water or water that is boiled for 20 minutes to get rid of the chlorine (there are no 5l bottles available in the country right now), it will take 2-4 weeks for the rash, and the itching, to disappear. It’s very nerve wrecking for the tot and for me, because I would like him to stop scratching and sometimes he just doesn’t. 😦
      But we will get there.

  28. Oh my goodness!! Your poor little guy! He must be miserable. I hope something gets figured out for him soon! It must be very hard for you to watch him go through this as well. Seeing those pictures made me want to itch for him.

    • During the day, when I keep him busy and keep applying moisturiser he can handle the itching pretty well, the problem comes during the second half of the night, when the antihistamine wears off. And the more I check online, the more certain I am it is caused by (excessive) chlorine in the tap water.

  29. Poor kiddo! I hope for his sake and yours you can figure out what’s causing the rash.

    I’ve never had anything quite so severe, but I get red and itchy after every shower, no matter what kind of soap I use. My skin is just ultra-sensitive to the chemicals. I’ve learned to live with mine, but it’s easier for me because it clears up in about 30 to 60 minutes.

    Good luck singling out the source of the rash!

    • Thanks for feeling with us, sometimes it’s really hard because he’s too small to understand that the more he’s scratching, the more it’s going to itch and especially at night it’s really bad. I’ve changed shampoo and soap a couple of times, no reaction, but I really think it’s just the water itself. And I hope using only bottled water is improving his skin.

  30. Oh man…I am so sorry that this is still going on! It must be so hard on all of you! You will figure it out, and you are such a good mom for refusing to quit!

  31. So sorry your little guy is hurting. You are not at the end of the rope. You are stronger than you think and you will figure this out eventually.

  1. Pingback: The mysterious rash – did we get rid of the eczema? (part 1) « Mommy's Paradise

  2. Pingback: My tots quirks are driving me nuts sometimes « Mommy's Paradise

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