Tuesday, October 23

A Rash By Any Other Name

I have one reason for writing this post. I am a WebMD / Google Image self-diagnoser, meaning any time one of us gets sick, I immediately check the internet to figure out what the sickness might be. Granted, I usually end up with concerns that I have some rare form of cancer or genetic disorder, but it saves a trip to the doctor and a bit of money. Anyway, I'm posting this entry to potentially help any self-diagnosers like me out there who might be searching the internet trying to figure out what is wrong with them or their child (Disclaimer: Please do not really base your diagnosis off of my blog; call your doctor. I don't want to be sued by anyone).

Brock started running a fever last Thursday and was acting really tired and clingy and fussy. My maternal instinct must have been in overdrive because I kept feeling like I needed to take him in to the doctor. Actually, it's probably just that I was already off work and had taken a shower that day so I figured I should go ahead and take him in while it was slightly convenient for me. After an hour and a half, a traumatic finger prick, and an equally traumatic (but overly dramatic) reaction to the doctor's exam, the doctor told me, "He is fussy and unhappy because he doesn't feel well (gee, thanks, I had no idea). It's just a virus and should go away in a few days." So I went home swearing to myself I'd never go see the doctor on the first day of a fever again; from now on, I'll wait until someone is clearly dying or in need of medication.

Fast forward to Friday evening. While changing Brock's diaper, I noticed several red bumps that looked like mosquito bites all along the backs of his thighs. After checking with Blaine to make sure he hadn't taken Brock pants-less through an enormous swarm of mosquitos, I figured it was just some kind of diaper rash... until Saturday morning when it had spread all down his legs and up to his arms. I put on my doctor's coat and started googling things like "red spots on legs and arms," "multiple bumps resembling mosquito bites that aren't mosquito bites," "fever then red spotted rash." None of these turned up anything substantial, but by the time I was done, my guess was that he either had hives, Rocky mountain spotted fever, or bed bugs.

My mom suggested it might be chicken pox, which I immediately dismissed because he'd had the vaccine at 12 months. I googled it anyway though, and the images did look similar to Brock's condition. I also found out from the internet and friends on Facebook that, while less likely, you can still potentially get the chicken pox even after having the vaccine, but it is a less severe form of the virus. The rash didn't seem to be bothering him though and he hadn't had a fever since Thursday so I decided to give it until Monday when the doctor's office was open again.

Here is what the spots looked like on Saturday evening:

Those under his eyes were the ones I was most concerned about
because they were so close to the eye and like large patches.

The backs of his legs had it the worst (which may be because he had a patch
of eczema on the back of his legs before the rash ever popped up).

What was weird is that there were practically no spots on his stomach, chest, or back.
It was all on his arms, legs, and face.

Here is what the rash looked like by Sunday evening:

I know his eyes look sickly in this picture, but it really was just the flash that made him look that way.
He had been acting completely fine all weekend, other than maybe a little extra whining.

They had spread more on his arms by Sunday and had moved to his hands and feet too.

They look really terrible, but I promise he wasn't scratching at them or anything.

By Monday, the biggest spots had faded some but he was still getting new spots. They weren't turning into blisters like chicken pox either, so I wondered if it was because he had had the vaccine or because it was something different. I called the doctor that morning and took him in for a visit. After having to be quarantined in the hallway and seeing several parents warily looking at us while shielding their children behind them, we finally got tucked away safely in a private room. Dr. Smith came in and examined him (a no less traumatic or dramatic exam than Thursday's, I should add), then concluded that Brock had Erythema Multiforme. Oh... that old thing (??). Apparently it's a rash that is the body's reaction to a virus. The fever Brock had Thursday was some sort of virus and this was the way his body reacted to it. It can also show up as an allergic reaction to medicines (particularly antibiotics), but I knew that wasn't the issue since he hadn't had anything new recently. It is usually itchy I think, but luckily it didn't seem to affect Brock in that way. So Dr. Smith told us it would go away in 7-10 days, it was no longer contagious since he hadn't had the fever for over 24 hours, and then he sent us on our merry way. Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to pay anything for a doctor visit if there was nothing they could do for you?

Today (Tuesday, 4 days after the rash first appeared, 5 days after the fever) the spots are mostly gone. He still has a few small ones on his legs and arms, and one on his face, but they look much better. And now I think he's getting a cold (it's always something!), but we'll just be toughing this one out because I've had enough of the "There's nothing we can do for it; it will get better on its own" to last for this month. I did want to post about our scary-looking rash and its fancy name though, in case anyone else out there is doing a Google search, trying to figure out the same thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment