Lumpy, bumpy and grumpy

By Mir
August 13, 2008

We’re not quite a week into the new school year, and already we’re settling into a familiar routine. I hear his alarm go off and the sound of Monkey leaping out of bed just seconds before my alarm goes off; in contrast, Chickadee’s first alarm is usually turned off before it has a chance to beep (she’ll turn it off in the wee hours, I suspect), and the second alarm—on a second clock, across the room—goes off ten minutes later.

Monkey is downstairs in about six minutes, bright-eyed and chatty and cheerful. Chickadee won’t follow for at least another fifteen minutes (if not more), and she is often slow and irritable. She’s not much of a morning person. But in her defense, she’s also completely covered in Ye Olde Creeping Crud, and that’s probably not very comfortable. I’ve certainly been crabby over (much) less. (Dear Otto: I love you. Please resist the urge to comment here. Thanks, sweetie! Smooches!)

And we have tried—LORD HOW WE HAVE TRIED—but several weeks ago I had to concede defeat and call the doctor again.

So, to recap: Remember how Chickadee was diagnosed with Molloscum after she returned from her dad’s house covered in a rash? Our family doctor assured us that it was very common and not that big of a deal, and it might itch “just a little” but here, use this cream, and don’t worry, she’ll be fine?

Yeah. Well. We used the cream the doctor gave us, but we also went to the hippie store and got some other things to try. Like neem soap! And colloidal silver ointment! And toe of newt, which is a little slimy but leaves sort of a pretty shimmer. (Hang on a sec. Now I need to sit here and count how many emails I get asking if I RILLY RILLY bought toe of newt. Ah, I love the Internet. Yes I do. Okay, moving on.)

So we had this whole cocktail of skin treatment that she was doing, and the rash would get much better and I would be all “GO TEAM HERBAL! LET’S HUG SOME TREES! NO, WAIT, THAT’S POISON OAK, STOP!” But then we started getting into this very disturbing pattern: The skin behind her knees was clear and pink and normal for the first time in weeks, and then she’d get up the next morning and have TWICE as much crud as she’d had the night before. Or the patches on her elbows would be smoothing out nicely, finally, and she’d come to me before bed and say “my back itches, can you look at it?” and her ENTIRE back would be covered.

It was really disgusting.

And Chickadee, man, the poor child was itchy ALL THE TIME. I was giving her enough Benadryl to keep a horse fairly well stoned, but still she scratched. And bled. And crusted over. And scratched. And so on.

So I called and made her an appointment with a dermatologist, and during the weeks while we waited for the appointment Chickadee got it into her head that maybe her Molloscum was going to be frozen off and she spent that time insisting that SHE WOULD RATHER BE RASHY and NO ONE IS FREEZING ANYTHING ON ME, just in case I tried to pull a fast one, or something. I pointed out that when you have one or two or even ten little wart-like thingies, freezing is an option, but when you’re pretty much covered head to toe I don’t think they go for that. Still, she was pretty worried.

Yesterday we headed to the doctor’s office, which—like all doctors’ offices ’round here—is as far away as possible and tucked into a compound of a hundred offices with suite numbers approximately one inch high and unreadable from the parking lot. By some miracle we arrived on time, checked in, and were actually taken back within a reasonable time period.

The doctor came in and—well, wait. I think it was the doctor. Rather, I sure HOPE it was the doctor. But I don’t really KNOW because she didn’t introduce herself or say hello. Which was extremely strange. She just swept into the room and started asking Chickadee to “show me, darling” where her skin was affected. I explained the Molloscum diagnosis and how she hasn’t been improving. And then the doctor made a sweeping motion with her arm as she declared,

“Yes, well, this is not Molloscum. This is why regular doctors should leave the dermatology to the dermatologists.”


“It’s NOT Molloscum?” I asked. “What is it, then?”

The doctor squinted at Chickie’s elbows a bit more, then checked her knees, then said, “What is different, now, since this started?”

“Different?” I was confused. I’m easily confused, actually.

“Yes, different. THINK. Since this started. This is allergic eczema. She has an allergy. What is different? Has she been eating a lot of something?”

I tried to remember to close my gaping mouth. “Um, well, it’s been about a month… she’s been eating… ummm… kind of a lot of berries, I guess, since it’s summer….”

“Right!” she declared. “She is allergic. No more berries. What about citrus?”

“She drinks orange juice every morning…?”

“Right!” she seemed absolutely gleeful, now. “No more orange juice. She can have apple juice! And bananas. And any kind of melon. But no berries. No citrus. She is allergic.” She stopped to write something down, then looked up again with another pronouncement: “NO KIWI! Not yet, anyway.”

Right. Because my 10-year-old has been gorging on kiwi all month, rather than spotting them at the supermarket and insisting they look like rotten, hairy potatoes.

“Uhhh… shouldn’t we have allergy testing to determine that?” I asked, not exactly a stranger to the Allergy Game, given that Young Master Monkeypants was allergic to everything under the sun for his first two years of life, and a small number of things for the next three years after that.

“Allergy testing is very expensive and annoying,” she said, sort of waving my silliness away. “You cut out berries and citrus and see how she does. Then we decide. But that’s what it is, she has become allergic.”

Guess what Chickadee’s favorite summer treat is? Strawberries.

Guess what else she likes? Blueberries. And raspberries. And pretty much anything else with BERRY in the name.

Chickie was a remarkably good sport about the news—maybe because it came with a prescription for “a nice oil, darling, that will help with the itching”—but I have to say that I walked out of there pretty annoyed. Sure, she MIGHT be allergic to berries. I’m not saying she’s NOT. But the last time I checked, dermatologists were trained in skin disorders, not allergies… or, for that matter, omniscience.

Also, she prescribed a psoriasis treatment intended as scalp oil, for topical treatment. I’m pretty sure my daughter doesn’t have any scalp on her ASS. Oh, well. Maybe it has some toe of newt in it, because it IS pretty shimmery.

This morning’s stomp-and-grump routine was augmented by the addition of “And I can’t even have ORANGE JUICE anymore!” in a plaintive wail. It was very tragic. Even though I gave her some apricot nectar, instead. Because I’m nice that way, when you’re all covered in itchy crud.

Tune in next week for another exciting chapter of As The Rash Spreads!


  1. tori

    Poor Chickadee! I love berries too, and if someone told me I “might” be allergic, I’m not sure I would be able to stop eating them, especially when they weren’t positive that was what was causing the rash. Good luck figuring out what is causing the rash! What a pain (both for you and for her!)

  2. Jill W.

    Sounds like you need a second (or third, I guess) opinion. And a new dermatologist. Hope teh rash goes away soon,and I hope for Chickadee’s sake it is not berry related.

  3. mamalang

    I would definitely be asking for another opinion somewhere…cause maybe it’s a reaction to some of the treatments. Or maybe she ate something else that you haven’t thought of. Goodness.

    No matter what, I hope she feels better. That creeping crud doesn’t sound fun.

  4. AmeliaB

    Wow. That sucks. Maybe there is an allergist in the huge complex who knows how to verify what is happening? I hope she is better soon! (I would really like to punch the dermatologist for you.)

  5. Megan

    So…dermatology should be left to dermatologists, but diagnosis of allergies can be done by anyone?

    Good to know.

  6. Jane

    Poor thing! I developed an allergy at the age of 33 to ibuprofen, resulting in eczema, and oh my GOD it almost drove me crazy. I’ve never suffered so much. Not even in labor. I saw an allergist, and if I were you, I would too. He didn’t tell me that is was definitely ibuprofen, but we did the scratch test (I was allergic to nothing on it), and at least narrowed it down. He was able to give me some medications that at least helped until I figured it out. Pretty much, I had to cut something out, and see if it got better.
    Good luck to both of you! And I’m not sure about the oil, I can tell you that the really goopy Eucerin in the tub helped immensely, as did some sort of stuff I found at the drug store that actually formed some sort of film over it, so if my clothes hit it, it wouldn’t start itching. May the rash be short lived!

  7. Leandra

    Hmmm…I find it strange that a 10 year old would ALL OF A SUDDEN become allergic to something. I, too, believe that a second opinion is in order. And it the second opinion thinks its allergies, then I would still push for the testing because good lord you could spend the rest of your life eliminating foods to see if that was THE ONE.

    Of course you know all these things. I just had to put my two cents in.

  8. Lylah

    Um…. I’d go to a different dermatologist. ASAP. And then go back and stick a pin into that first one to see if she deflates because MY GOODNESS (Dahhhling) the hot air!!!

    Poor Chickadee. And you, too… it’s hard to deal with, watching your kid go through something like this.

  9. annette

    GO to an allergist! Good grief the dermatologist calls the pediatrician a quack then tries to be an allergist???? THAT makes sense! Also, you probably know this, but avoid soaps, use cetaphil instead and double rinse your laundry especially while the eczema is active. And, we use cortisone on the active areas and take aveeno baths. No, I am not a doctor, i just play one on the internet:)

  10. Megan

    Did she have a sparkly wand? Because that woman is truly the Dr. Fairy Godmother of Dermatology (and allergy diagnosis – now! with less testing!!). That’s the trouble with a visual imagination. Now I’m seriously trying to get the image of your possibly-a-doctor swooping around the room in her lab coat and Glinda the Good frock assuring poor Chickie that all will be well if she follows the berry-free road.

  11. Gwen

    My first thought is that it may very well have started out as Molloscum and that she is allergic to one of those nifty herbal treatments.

    When I had a dysplastic nevi (precancerous mole) removed from my back, I used Neosporin on the wound. It was horribly itchy and painful, which didn’t match what they’d told me to expect. I went in for a recheck, thinking it was infected, but, no, I’m just allergic to Neosporin. Which I’d been using for years (who doesn’t?) but developed an allergy to at about the time I had the mole cut out. As soon as I stopped with the evil medicine, the incision healed up nicely.

  12. RuthWells

    Poor baby girl.

  13. Holly

    Rather than repeat anything anyone else said (although, no one has mentioned fruitcake in the same sentence when speaking of ‘the doctor’, so I have to throw that in) I will tell you about SARNA. For the itching. In my experience, it is a wonderful anit-itch lotion. Any drug store should carry it. It did wonders when our son and I had poison oak.

  14. Astrogirl426

    I would keep this doctor on the list – it sounds like she is all too happy to prescribe without testing, which might come in handy if you start needing some major narcotics (“Of course my dears! Valium is JUST the thing to clear up that annoying case of acne! I recommend bathing in it!”).

    Anywho. I put my vote in for the additional opinion. It does seem odd that a ten-year old would suddenly develop an allergy to something, although heaven knows it’s possible and has happened before. But there’s no reason to play Mad Scientist with the food (and god knows, kids eat few enough foods as is, you don’t want to take away anything they actually WILL eat, if you can help it!) and torture all of you with her wails of misery. The allergy testing should help provide some answers – hopefully!

  15. Ariel

    I’m going to waltz around the office saying “Darling!” to everyone now while make sweeping announcements! And ban fruit in the office. Its going to be GREAT.

  16. Em

    No way. Next doctor, please. I might not have written her off when she didn’t introduce herself (even though that was rude) but when she started dismissing the other doctor’s diagnosis, thats just unprofessional. Usually, they at least show some respect for the other doctors’ opinion by either keeping it as an option or at least pretending they could see why the other doctor considered their diagnosis. But when she refused to do a test that you reqested to confirm her diagnosis (which, to me, seems like a shot in the dark. Whats been different? Um, she’s been out in the sun, in the pool, been traveling by airplane, who knows what else. ) because its expensive and annoying? To whom? How annoying must it be to keep a kid’s favorite food away “just to see”. Nah, when I get this many red flags, I just move on. Its so hard to find a doctor though. Know any teenagers with bad skin that might have a recommendation?

  17. erma

    Big time allergy sufferer here. You need to find a good allergist…I also react to various creams and topical things, so that could have made the condition worse, as Gwen said.

  18. NoDramaMama

    I came to tell you about SARNA but I see Holly beat me to it so you now have 2 recommendations for it, Darling! :-)

    Is the dermatologist also an allergist? Poor Chickie. I would almost be willing to submit to allergy testing so not to give up anything berry.

  19. Aimee

    Great. Now in a few weeks you will go to an allergist who will tell you that the frakking dermatologists should leave the allergy diagnosis to the allergists!

  20. Crisanne

    While I do agree that dermatologists should do the dermatology (and they do know something about allergic reaction type rashes), I certainly think she should have referred you to an allergist or just ordered the testing herself. I have found that some doctors are particulary resistent to testing allergies and believe that elimination testing is more accurate.

    Yes, she could suddenly become allergic to those foods. I discovered I’d developed an allergy to Kiwi (funny that you mention it) at age 21 during a conference when I suddenly felt the need to scratch my eyes, tongue, and throat to pieces! That was fun.

    You know, if this does turn out to be an allergy thing, it could explain some (not all) of her difficulties this summer. As you well know, food allergies can do all kinds of crazy things to people.

  21. Carrie

    I have been through a few rounds of GP versus specialist myself in the past year. It is so annoying — partly because the specialist fall over themselves proving to you that GPs are stupid imbeciles and partly because, well, they’re right.

    No, no, those medical school graduates who opted for the thankless specialty of no specialty aren’t imbeciles. The system, I guess, is an imbecile. Because I am getting so tired of the routine: visit gp with a problem. GP writes scrip. Scrip doesn’t help, return to GP. GP tries different scrip. Repeat one more time. Finally, GP gives in and sends you to specialist. After waiting 10 months to see specialist and having some kind of problem with referral (I lost it, I need another one for follow-up visit, I can’t get it because it’s a Catholic hospital and I’m getting an IUD, etc), the specialist diagnoses me in two minutes and gives me the right scrip.

    Unless, of course, it’s an opthamologist trying to fix an allergy problem, much like your dermatologist. Yeah. Cause GPs don’t know skin, but if you’re a specialist, you know everything. About everything. Which is why I’m going to an allergist for my C-section next time I get knocked up.

  22. Debra

    A doctor not introducing himself or herself is one of my top peeves. I frequently interrupt them to ask for a name (and then I’m just hoping that they will say “Doctor so and so…” rather than “Hi, I’m Georgie…” Yes, I like first names but I also like for a doctor to say that s/he is a doctor! But this one sounds like a very busy … well, busyhead. At every least if she didn’t want to test, she should have made the suggestion to cut the berries and then see what happened and give you a timeframe: you’ll see a difference in 3 days or you’ll see a difference in 7 days or whatever.

  23. TC

    UM! BUT! UMMMMM! What has CHANGED in the last month is that you’re using ALL THESE POTIONS (natural and not-so-natural) ON HER FOR HER MOLLUSCUM! Dude. Shouldn’t the doctor (of which I am not, of course) have suggested you first try NOT USING that other stuff before taking all of Chickie’s favorite treats away? Or am I just missing something?

  24. Astrogirl426

    For a little fun, I think you should get the original doctor, this wackjo- I mean, dermatologist ;), and an allergist in a room together and let them have at it. Should make for some quality entertainment, even if poor Chickie is still cruddy.

  25. Dustin

    Now I’m all itchy. Thanks!

  26. DR

    Mir, this is probably too obvious but have you changed detergent, soap, shampoo, or deodrant for her? I found out as an adult that I cannot use certain products. Also, I’ve developed a horrid food allergy to watermelon…probably from spitting seeds at cousins when I was a kid. (The reason I thought of this is because it has gone to her back…) And, I know she’ll balk at this but has anyone mentioned she wear socks on her hands when she goes to bed so she doesn’t scratch in her sleep? My guess is the heat is making her miserable!

  27. Mom24

    I think I would leave the allergy diagnosis to the allergist. If those are her favorite foods, the allergy testing could be well worth the money. I think a lot of people (and doctors) blame a lot of things on allergies that are really not the case. Good luck. I hope it does help.

    BTW–what you describe has not been our experience with Molloscum at all. When Julianna’s went away, they stayed away, and her itching was very mild. I know everyone’s different, but that was our experience.

    I agree that maybe it was the stuff you were trying to make things better that maybe was making things worse. You never know.

  28. Leasa

    fyi – you can get an allergy test done by blood test which I just found out recently. My 5 year old started breaking out in hives randomly and also has random red, scaly, itchy spots and the pediatrician did a blood test. It picked up a handful of newly acquired food allergies and some environmental ones. Easier than the skin test which I have had a bunch of times (they prick you with a bunch of needles on the arm and whatever swells up is what you are allergic to). Good luck figuring it out!

  29. Meri

    poor Chickie! I hope you get some real answers soon.

  30. Amy

    I too think I would insist on getting another opinion. Either from another dermatologist or from an allergist…but I don’t think I would leave it at that. No point in torturing the poor child more than she already has been.

  31. Jean

    I’m with Mom24. My kids have had a mollescum or two over the years and they never presented like your daughter’s. We’ve also had a round or two with eczema. While I think the dermatologist was bizarre, I do think the presentation sounds a little more like an allergic reaction (all over the back and back of knees, coming and going, etc.).

    I think she’s nuts for her sweeping generalizations and glib recommendations of what to avoid. I feel your pain, but I’d try another doc, pronto. Or as pronto as the fine health insurance coverage will allow.

    Finding, seeing, dealing with doctors can be so stressful. Best wishes for some relief.

  32. Karen

    Sorry to hear that Chickie is having such a hard time. My youngest daughter was allergic to everything. when she was 6, her allergist had me take her off of all foods she tested allergic to for 3 weeks. The only things the poor kid could eat were beef, green beans, and apples. Don’t you know that was fun? Then we added a new “family” of foods back to her diet every week, to see what made her react.

    There are many things that can trigger allergies, including stress, trauma, introduction of new things into the diet, and it is never the same with any two people. Seeing as she has had a stressful summer, moved to a new climate, and may well be having hormonal changes in her body, I can see where she could have developed allergies. But, just looking at someone, I don’t care how much edumacation or experience you have as a doctor, can not begin tell you WHAT they are allergic to.

    I would start a food diary for her, writing down every single thing she eats each day, and noting if the rash is better or worse. Doing that would come closer to helping find out what is wrong, than someone walking in and declaring “You are to be berryless”.

    ok, just my two cents worth.

  33. Kira

    Allergy testing IS annoying. But…um…so are FACTS, sometimes. Tre’s allergist is my whack-job-est doctor. Whoo! We went to see her last week and she swept in the exam room and HUGGED us all. Then she spent 20 minutes reviewing Tre’s file and gushing about how PROUD OF HIM she is. How proud? SO PROUD.
    Then she interrupted her PROUD speech to inform him that he SHOULD NOT worry that he is a late bloomer. Late bloomers are GOOD. It gives him more time to GROW. Tre sat there, looking at me, thinking in enormous irritated thought balloons, “Mom? Did this woman just call me a short late bloomer?”
    Yes, son. But she is SO PROUD OF YOU.

  34. Tammy

    I say give it a try…keep her off anything berry related for a few weeks and see if it clears up. Don’t forget that pineapple, oranges and tomatoes fall into the “citrus” category. My mom is allergic to citrus foods but it shows up as canker sores for her (ouch!).

    Allergies usually develop over time…the more you’re exposed, the more apparent the reaction becomes. It could also be the fabric detergent/softener that she’s developed an allergy to. (((Hugs))) as you try to figure this out!

  35. Bikini

    Strange but true – I was allergic to citrus fruit when I was younger (starting around age 6) and it caused a skin condition around my naughty bits that is usually reserved for menopausal women. So it’s not unheard of.

    But I would get a second opinion, too.

  36. Sheila

    Although I’m sorry that Chickadee is itchy, scaly and somewhat miserable, you sure know how to entertain your readers, Mir! Well done, as usual. Here’s hoping the rash clears soon.

  37. Nelson's Mama

    The molloscum that we’ve had the privilege to know was nothing like that – just little wart like guys that hung out for a year or so. Very unsightly, but that’s about it.

    Sounds like the weird lady is on to something…

  38. Kate

    Not saying this is what’s happening to Chickie, but sometimes eczema can be triggered and then hang on even after the offending substance is long gone. SO, if Chickie did get this at her father’s house, then she could have been exposed to new soap, shampoo, food, you name it, just enough to trigger rash central.

    A neighbor of mine had this happen and a short course of steroids got rid of the eczema, which never came back.

    Yet another 2 cents worth. You’ll be rich here soon!

  39. Heidi

    Hee–what if it turns out the dermatologist is right?

  40. Kathy from NJ

    My husband was diagnosed with shingles by his intern and took a very expensive shingles medicine. After a month with no improvement we went to the teen-aged dermatologist who scraped a sample of his skin to look at under microscope & declared it a yeast infection (on his outer hip). A few days on the yeast cream and his skin was perfect.

    For eczema (not allergic eczema) I find that zinc supplements work well for me.

  41. Ladybug Crossing

    I think I’d find myself another doctor – like an allergist to see if she really is allergic to anything. I wonder if it is something like a poison oak…

    Have they tried a low dose of steroids to knock it out of her yet? I had a rash – head to toe – a couple of years ago and the steroids kicked it. They don’t know where it came from or what it was, but I was going crazy.

    Hope she feels better soon.

  42. Karen

    My sister, who happens to be a teacher, had an itchy rash a last year and the dermatologist said it was allergic eczema. (Dairy was the alleged factor). After 3 weeks when it was getting worse and worse, she returned to doctor who then figured out it was shingles. Apparently, shingles are rare in 24 year olds so they missed it. So she was out of work for 6 weeks, but for over 3 weeks she exposed her entire kindergarten class to the pox. Not good.

    Let’s hope Chickee gets better soon

  43. Dawn from NJ

    Some people who are allergic to strawberries and some other fruits or veges (like carrots) don’t have any trouble when it’s cooked, only when raw. So, if it turns out that berries are the issue, consider making a simple syrup and cooking the berries very lightly in it as a treat. Kinda like pie without the crust.

    And I agree with those who say you might want to find a different dermatologist. Whew – what an arrogant jerk.

  44. Jessica

    Poor Chickadee!

    Ariel, you made me laugh out loud and I haven’t even had coffee yet.

  45. Jamie AZ

    Very, very frustrating. Best of luck at the allergist, now! :)

  46. dana

    Just a few thoughts from a mother of a very eczemic rashy kid. We thought that my daughter was allergic to citrus, had the testing and she wasn’t – she still breaks out in hives from various citrus juices, we think that it is an additive that contributes to the rashes and hives. Certain candy like red licorice and jelly beans – same thing, rashes and hives. She also has allergies and when she is taking her allergy meds, the rashes seem to be less severe. Just a thought. It is not easy scratching all the time.

  47. dana

    one more thing – i would take her to an allergist

  48. Katie in MA

    Aw, poor Chickie! Summer is almost over, and then it will be apple-pickin’ season. Until then – hang in there!

    What would you think about giving Chickie a choice? She can elect to give up citrus for a few weeks and see if that gets rid of the itch (a fair trade off in my book). OR, she can continue to eat her favorite foods, with the understanding that she has to itch as a consquence. Maybe that way she’ll feel more in control of “her” decision to give up orange juice, etc?

    Just a thought…

  49. Zee

    I went to a dermatologist a couple years ago who behaved the same way. Waltzed in, peered at my eyes a little and then handed me some ointment. And I’m all, “uh… could you at least LISTEN to what I have to say?”

    Nope! Time is money and she has THINGS TO DO…. Sigh.

    I’d be interested in knowing whether this sort of behavior is taught at Dermatologist School or if they just have a superiority complex by nature! :D

  50. Vicki

    GO TO THE ALLERGIST!! Best thing my whole family has ever done because we are all allergic to something and it helped us immensly. I swear to you that once you get on something for it, it gets better and you feel a lot better. My allergist is kinda kooky too but she’s nice and she knows her stuff.

  51. The Other Other Dawn

    How ironic that after berating “regular doctors” for practicing dermatology, she proceeds to practice allergyology.

    I don’t even know that that’s a name of a specialty, but don’t you think it should be? It’s even more fun to say than otolaryngology. (which, obviously, is the treatment of Otto.)

    Do you suppose the commenters above are on to something and she might be allergic to something from the hippie store?

  52. just beth

    Poor chickie. Tell her that I’m allergic to Vitamin C. So that means no oranges, orange juice, watermelon, ANY melon, actually, and all sorts of other deliciousness. So I feel her pain. And it used to be my butt that got rashy, but now it’s more like an all over allergy fit, which is rather unsightly.

    (i still sneak some OJ when I can though. can’t help it. it’s DELICIOUS.)

    xo – good luck,


  53. Lia

    A 10 year old girl can easily develop allergies, because some allergies are hormone based and the hormones can start that early. In fact I developed my food allergies at about the same time.

    If only we’d actually seen an allergist. I didn’t until I was 18, so 8 years of suffering for nothing, and generally you are allergic to a family of foods, strawberries and blueberries are not in the same family!

    Also, it could be the herbal products. Have her stop using all soap You don’t really need soap anyway and let her skin have a nice rest. My Dr. prescribed me with some ‘cream’ to help a rash on my face and I had it for years. When I saw a real Dr. (one that wasn’t 100 years old) I found out that my skin was reacting to the ‘cream’. I stopped using it, the rash got worse before going away completely!

  54. Meri

    dana, could it be one of the food coloring dyes for your daughter? One of my high school classmates was allergic to Red #something-or-other, which is in a lot of stuff.

  55. bec 38

    Although I would agree that taking her to an allergist might help to narrow down what she’s actually allergic to, I do think that dermatologists know when a rash on SKIN is an allergy. I mean, skin is their thing.

  56. Jenn

    And if you’re really going to do the avoid citrus thing, then that should probably include citric acid, which can be found in many processed foods.

    All good advice here. Hope Chickie feels better.

  57. ali

    I’ve been lurking for a while but feel the need to comment on this- poor chickie! I had really bad eczema in my early twenties and had to go through the whole allergy testing, etc. I finally managed to clear it up with the help of a naturopath (after getting sick of doctors continually prescribing hydrocortisone cream to me which just thins the skin and doesn’t address the reason the eczema was showing up in the first place).
    Anyway, as for the itching at night- the naturopath I went to suggested rubbing canola oil on the affected areas before going to bed. Even though you smell like a salad and the sheets may get a little sticky, it did help me somewhat with the itching and it is a lot cheaper than some prescription drug store oil.
    Good luck!

  58. Kathleen

    An allergist is a good idea, though they may not come up with a definitive diagnosis if it’s a food allergy. I know that for some food allergies, they only test for the proteins in the food that most people are allergic to. If her body has decided to be allergic to a weird protein, it may not show up as clearly.

    It’s not that questionable that she’s all of a sudden showing up as allergic to something, if it’s indeed an allergy. If it’s a new thing in her environment, she might have always been allergic to it. If it’s something that she didn’t used to be allergic to… well. I seem to add new allergies to the roster when I’m extremely stressed. I developed my first allergies when I was ten and my parents began a divorce that involved a lot of wrangling back and forth. My latest big allergy developed as an adult after a layoff. From what you’ve said over the last few months, it sounds like she’s having a pretty tough summer. It’s possible that her immune system is like mine and has decided that since the world is threatening, it needs to be super-protective. By, you know, going on the warpath after the wrong things and making life itchy. The immune system isn’t all that logical.

    Regarding the psoriasis treatment– I have mild psoriasis that flares periodically. Psoriasis is like allergies in that it occurs when the immune system decides to go overboard. I think the topical treatment I was prescribed had two components– a steroid to tell the immune system to knock it off, and something to help slough off the excess itchy skin. In your shoes, I would use it even if it’s officially meant for the scalp.

    Aside from all the complicated herbal stuff– if you want to try something natural for the itching, you could try giving her an oatmeal bath, kind of like what used to be done for chicken pox. When my psoriasis first started and before I went to the doctor, I tried putting oatmeal on it and it did actually alleviate the itching for a little while. Assuming she’s not allergic to oatmeal, it wouldn’t do any harm.

    I hope it all gets sorted out and the rash goes away soon. It’s no fun to be itchy like that.

  59. Kelly

    Oh no! Poor chickie.

    My 1 year old had very bad eczema when she was 2 – 5 months old, we think due to dairy allergy. There are lots of topical ways to help. Every case is different too though – we got lots of the use Vaseline or Vaseline type product advice – and that made it so much worse for her. My favorite product has been California Baby for sensitive skin…. The publix here in Atlanta carries it, typically Target will to. The All Free detergent is all we use in the house, and we kept her in cotton when possible during outbreaks. Cetaphil cleanser for baths… a steroid prescription for bad outbreaks to keep infection away. That’s all the fun standard stuff – you probably already know most of this but thought I’d post anyway.

    I hope it all works out and you find a non-crackpot doctor.

  60. lizneust

    I’m with whoever mentioned developing allergies with the onset of puberty. Hi there, hay fever – how’s it hanging? That unsettling discovery has been followed by several oddball sudden allergies in the last 30 years. Nothing ever dangerous, mind you, but very out of the blue and what the heck is going on? Like discovering I had an contact allergy to mangos (mangoes?), and that’s why I suddenly looked like an extra on Star Trek. That said, every single freaking time, I’ve had misdiagnosis followed by correct identification. The mango thing was diagnosed first as herpes and then highly contagious, before someone figured it out.

    All that said, the dermatologist was completely rude and unprofessional AND you should get to an allergist/have your pediatrician try and do allergy testing on Chickie’s blood.

    Also, SARNA and oatmeal baths are great for nasty weepy stuff, but for the more generalized itch, I’d try and find some Caladryl Lotion. It’s a combo of Calamine and Benadryl, so drying and anti-itch, but it’s clear. It smells a bit less than SARNA and is portable (unlike the oatmeal bath). It has the bonus of being great for bug bites.

  61. Tj

    Aww, poor darling! Well, hopefully that is it..if not, back to square one. Good luck!

  62. lindasands

    Well, with all the helpful advice, you certainly don’t need me to chime in. All I’d have to say is, “Ewww.” and “C’mon. Post a picture.”

  63. kaye

    I’m a doctor – want me to take a look at her? I can write a press release about the results.

  64. Jenny

    Poor Chickie — that absolutely sucks, and I hope y’all get it figured out soon.

    I won’t add my opinion to the streams of advice (I’m a lawyer, which would be even worse than a dermatologist masquerading as an allergist, I’m thinking…) except to say that I have had a VERY SIMILAR experience with a dermatologist and what is UP with those guys? Few things are more frustrating to someone who wants to *discuss* and *understand* than a professional who just flaps a hand and makes a pronouncement and waltzes away. Grrr.

  65. Headless Mom

    Rash here too-with no real explanation.

    Oh the joys!

  66. Amy


    Please drive Chickie over to the ATL and take her to an allergy doctor here. Shoot me an email, I have a name and a number for you. I am allergic to basically everything and am currently taking (giving myself) allergy shots. How crazy that this lady wanted to diagnose allergies without testing. Who does this lady think she is?? Argh!!

  67. Karen

    Mir, seriously, I am all about herbs, they saved my life as a child, but I would definately get a second or as it may seem, a third opinion. Doctors, if that is what that woman was, have their place. I would never denie that, but that was quackery at its finest. Keep us posted on “As the Rash Turns”

  68. Flea

    Move to Tulsa, Mir. I squishy heart my doctor and everyone she recommends. Find someone else soon. Poor Chicky. Poor Mir!

  69. Nancy

    I loved AstroGirl’s comment: keep this doctor! She’ll prescribe without testing! The valium! The perkaset! Oh, the possibilities!

  70. WaywardGoddess

    This is why Dermatologists should leave allergies to the Allergists. *waves hands dramatically*

  71. B

    Seriously, ignore the dermatologist and go see an allergist. If you lived near me, I’d recommend ours. It might be berries, but who knows it might be something else. Lots of allergists are really good at looking at skin conditions and not only know how to treat them, but can also determine exactly what’s causing them, if it’s allergy related…or even if it’s not. My allergist has changed my child’s life, and that is an understatement. She is a miracle worker, that’s for sure. Good luck!!

  72. Kris

    Poor Chickie! I hope y’all figure it out soon!

    What is so funny is that I know exactly which dermatologist you went to by your most excellent description. I went to her exactly ONCE. What’s even funnier (sadder?) is that she used to be a pediatrician.

  73. Cele

    I have to ask, I have to, I’m sorry, but gotta…Could it be laundry soap or fabric softener? And like everyone said, get another opinion.

  74. Claudious

    I’d be tempted to go back to eye of newt, (lol that’s awesome) I think she probably is allergic to something, but it hurts my brain that the doctor wouldn’t send you to someone who could tell you for sure what it is she’s allergic to.

  75. Victoria

    My kids have lots of food allergies and I have to side with the derm on this. Allergy skin tests are not that reliable and can be very uncomfortable. An blood test is better (ELISA or RAST) but sometimes foods that don’t cause a physical reaction show up as an allergy or intolerance.

    An elimination diet is non-invasive and gives clear results. I would keep a food diary and eliminate just one food at a time so you know which (if any) are causing the problems. After eliminating foods for a while you can sometimes add them back in on occasion. And as someone mentioned, stress and heat can cause or aggravate skin conditions.

  76. Rebecca

    Poor girl (and poor you.) Maybe you could ask her pediatrician to run an allergy test… or go to an allergist maybe. (As much as I’m SURE you do not want to go to another doctor.

  77. Kris

    I feel for you! My son was diagnosed with eczema when he was two and we’ve struggled for um … 17 years trying to keep it under control. He was advised not to eat bacon – don’t eat peanut butter – don’t eat citrus fruit. Oh – and don’t swim, chlorine makes it worse – take lukewarm showers, hot water makes it worse. He’s finally settled on applying Aveeno as often as possible and he uses this special super-expensive $170 an ounce (thank heavens we only pay a copay) ointment, foam or lotion when it gets out of control. Needless to say, there is not a really effectie cure. Hopefully it will only be an allergic reaction – good luck!

  78. ImpostorMom

    I wonder if you’re seeing the same dermatologist as my husband. Her demeanor sounds very familiar, especially since she doesn’t seem to listen to a damn word my husband says either.

  79. mama speak

    Just wanted to chime in that you can develop allergies after a period of time; ie–medicine allergies; sometimes your body get enough of something and decides NO MORE. I had this happen to me w/sulfa drugs at age 18. More since, but it’s about you not me. My point (yes, I have one) is that this opens up the various causes to infinity. Citrus and berrys can be at the top of the list, but so can soaps, house cleaners and who knows what else. Soooooo…..get the allergy blood test and save yourself and your child some grief. I was on a food allergy (elimination) diet for well over a year at one point in my life, it SUCKS and my issue was NOT a food. Why suffer needlessly?

    Good Luck!

  80. airportsox

    I didn’t read ALL the posts here and I know I’m repeating what others have said, but I just have to get this off my chest:

    I have terrible allergies (ragweed and grass – yes, grass – talk about hard to stay away from it!) and I’ve suffered with eczema at different times in my life… the first thing I would say is: stay away from the dermatologists! They can be helpful (a little, maybe, sometimes) but what you really need is a VERY GOOD ALLERGY DR. I don’t know how I ever survived before I met my allergy doctor. While the dermatologist can diagnose the eczema, they have no idea how to find the root cause… this is clearly shown by her telling you to cut out berries and OJ. What about soaps and detergents? nerves? stress? other environmental factors – ragweed, flowers, trees, grass(!)??? animals??? This lady is absolutely ridiculous.

    Anyway, find a good allergist and get some results. In the meantime, I would second the comments about Aveeno, Eucerin and SARNA. One of the three might work better for Chickie but at different times they all worked wonders for me.


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