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Trekman20 05-07-2011 09:59 PM

My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
I am having a problem where my sweat is causing an allergic reaction with bumps, blisters and fluid just like Poison Oak. I have consulted three general doctors plus a dermatologist, allergist and naturopath with no improvement.

The doctors found me to be healthy and active male 52 years old, taking no medications up to that time and with no other conditions.

I have read numerous posts of people who seem to be suffering from the same problem of sweat making you itch after a severe Poison Ivy incident, but have not seen any posts with a solution. I will try to be brief, but I think the problem is systemic and goes back a while.

About 20 years ago I had a rash on my arms caused by direct contact with Poison Sumac and was advised by a friend to apply Tecnu Scrub and then rinse in Hot Water. I did and the rash spread over my entire body. Had I read the instructions I would have discovered that you must apply Tecnu then rinse in COLD water to remove the poison sumac oil, then reapply and rinse in HOT water. By applying HOT water first I had pulled the poison oil into my body. I was given strong medication by my doctor, but have been much more sensitive to the Poison Ivy plants ever since.

About a year ago I was exposed to the smell and perhaps the pollen of a little known Poison Ivy type plant called Poodle Dog Brush while dirt bike riding. The next day my skin began to itch and a Poison Ivy like rash developed in all areas that were heavily clothed such as my feet and ankles which were covered with heavy socks and boots, knees which had heavy thigh length socks-knee braces and pants, elbows which had elbow guards and shirt and under the areas covers by my backpack straps and waist belt. In other words the places that could not have touched the plant as they were all covered in multiple layers.

The rash became worse and my limbs swelled greatly. Numerous anti histamine and many other drugs and creams were prescribed with no results. My doctor then gave two steroid shots which reduced the swelling and rash.

I had a full blood test which apparently revealed nothing. I also had full allergy patch testing which showed me to be significantly allergic to grass, weed and trees. However the antihistamines prescribed stopped working after about a month. I get hay fever sometimes, although this problem has gotten better over the years, contrary to the recent test results.

A naturopath prescribed a course of vitamins and Arsenica Album and Hydrogenated Water with no improvement after many months. I eat a healthy diet, no drugs and am very active.

I stopped doing any type of activity that would make me sweat for a period of over 4 months and the rash did not reappear, except in a very small way when I rode a mountain bike and was sweating. Last week for the first time in 4 months I went for dirt bike ride wearing all the gear (which has been washed in hot water numerous times since my contact with Poodle Dog Brush) and the rash reappeared in the same areas which have the most clothing on them. The rash is subsiding since I have not ridden again or gotten sweaty.

It seems to me that just as with Poison Ivy, it is not the plant that causes the problem, but your bodies reaction. You get the Poison Ivy oil on you and then a rash forms with blisters and if you scratch the blister the fluid from your body is released and causes the rash to spread. I am thinking my sweat is a mild form of that clear fluid from the rash blisters.

Does anyone have any insight into this?

I am hoping to find a way to treat the cause and not the symptoms. I would like to find a way to alter my sweat so it does not cause a Poison Ivy like rash.

janewhite1 05-08-2011 11:58 AM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
I don't think you are allergic to your own sweat, rather, you have exercise or heat induced uticaria (hives).

Definitely, it'll help to avoid becoming overheated. Have you tried a daily antihistamine? It works better as a preventative than as a cure after the fact. Many people find that Zyrtec is the most effective antihistamine for hives and rashes.

Also, is it possible you are sensitive to certain laundry detergents or fabric softeners?

Trekman20 05-08-2011 04:46 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Thanks for the suggestions
I have used Zyrtec but the doctor told me to use it every day and it stopped working after a month. I will try taking it prior to exercise

I have tried a number of different scent free laundry detergents with no change. Don't use a fabric softener

Is there any treatment so I can stop having heat induced uticaria?

Trekman20 05-08-2011 08:00 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
I read up a bit on Heat Induced Urticaria

My rash last weeks not hours and spreads to other nearby parts of the body as well as showing up on other parts a day or two after the initial onset triggered by sweating.

I notice it does not occur in my armpits, which would seem to be an area that heats up and should be involved.

I stayed in sweatlodges for hours at a time and it has not triggered the rash. Does that mean my condition is not heat related?

janewhite1 05-08-2011 08:05 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Hmmm. It could be that it's exercise that triggers it, not heat. Or it could be an outdoor thing, I frequently get hives and rashes from outdoor pollens.

Or it could be that having your sweat covered in tight clothing is what irritates your skin. You mentioned that the rash popped up mainly in areas covered tightly by clothing or backpack. I suggest you try exercising in minimal clothing, say, just jogging shorts, or something else very light and breathable.

gigi11 08-10-2011 07:30 AM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
I have been fighting this rash since the summer started - I have red bumps that mainly start in the lower leg area and spread. It itches like crazy. I finally went to a dermatologist and now I take Zantac twice a day so that it clears up. Now I have a blister like bumps that look like poison ivy but I am not sure - I did pull weeds the other day so that might be it. I notice when I go in the humidity and sweat these red scattered bumps will appear. It doesn't look like heat rash because the dermatologist has already determined that. I am so angry.:mad:

gigi11 08-10-2011 07:32 AM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Ask your doctor about Zantac - it is used in hospitals to stop itching and it clears up my rash.

jaxmeisel 08-13-2011 02:59 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Could you double check your Zantac receommendation, please. I looked it up and it's prescribed for stomach problems like acid reflux. Did you possibly mean Zyrtec, which is in fact an antihistamine and would make total sense as a way to relieve itchy skin rashes. Please let us know.

My itchy rash has been going on for two months now and I am desperate. The dermatologist gave me a corticosteroid cream that can only be used for two weeks and really did not help. I am seeing an allergist next week and want to know if I should ask for Zyrtec. (Unless you really did mean Zantac and it helps with itching). Thanks!

janewhite1 08-13-2011 09:57 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
She probably meant Zyrtec, but, oddly enough, Zantac and Zyrtec together can be very effective at treating allergy problems!

Both drugs are available over the counter and are very inexpensive.

jaxmeisel 08-13-2011 10:56 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Thank you. I'll go and get Zyrtec first thing in the morning!

gigi11 08-14-2011 10:27 AM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
No it is Zantac - yes I know it is for acid reflux - that is why I said check with your doctor first before taking it. My doctor said oddly enough that zantac it is for acid reflux but it does stop the itching. My dermotologist always recommends it and my friend told me they use it in the emergency room liquid form in iv's for people who have allergic itching problems. I have been taking it for several months now and it stopped my itching. I was breaking out all over (red bumps).

Pickled 09-04-2011 10:48 AM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
It sounds to me that you have the same hereditary excema that I do. It is essentially your body being allergic to your own sweat. Starts as a super itchy bump, that turns into a gold blister that sometimes hurts and then pops open. If there is a group of them together it gets crusty and comes off in a big chunk. Zyrtec has been helping mine, but the dermatologist gave me Fluocinonide ointment USP, 0.05% for me to use too. I am on the Zyrtec for other allergies and the fact that it helped so much I hardly use the ointment. By the way the fluid in the blister does not spread them. Mine started on my hands and now shows up mostly on my feet.

Ija 11-07-2011 02:24 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Well, I have suffered from these same conditins. It's like I can't do anything with my wet hands. I change periodically throughout my day.

Last year I had purchased some heavily dyed undergarments and a pair of dark suede athletic shoes for yhe gym. Big error! I am almost positive it it dyes and chemicals in products that are.being allowed in the market regardless of side effects.

Last but not least the more I remove these items the less I have these conditions. I have plenty to share on this topic s I'll be back.

Thank you healthboards.

mimilasouris 08-11-2012 02:37 PM

Re: My Sweat Creates Poison Ivy Like Rash
Thank goodness, I finally found someone with the same thing as I'm struggling with! Everything you wrote, I can sign with my blood (well, and sweat).

I'm a healthy eater, never take meds and I am too an intensive exerciser. It suddenly started about a month ago (I'm 36) after I tried out a new sauna, and ever since I've been struggling to find a name and solution to this problem. I too went to see couple of doctors, and it didn't help nor solve anything..

The only thing that helps me (long term) is a freshly made green tea few times a day.. Not from the bottle, not from the Chinese store.. Preferably Japanese (they keep the leaves fresh in the freezer). Drink it as much as you could during the day, and in a week you'll see the difference.

Please please let me know how you're doing these days and whether you found a solution. Thanks!!

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