Thursday, April 27, 2006

photosensitivity or allergy?

I'd appreciate some input from anyone with experience with this. When I started going out on the lake every day, doing the muskie assessment, thus being exposed to sun and lake water and fish slime every day, I began to develop a rash on the backs of my hands, mostly the left (and I am left handed). It's like a bunch of raised reddish bumps, not like poison ivy, not itchy but a bit sensitive and warm. It goes away, then comes back when I go out on the lake again.

I'm thinking from the location it's a photosensitivity thing; I had something similar when I was on Doxycycline, an antibiotic for Lyme disease. But it's not on my face, which gets as much exposure as my hands. So maybe if I get my hands wet a bit it might be a combination of lake water and sunlight. I am allergic to one algae that is in this lake; one time I went tubing (towed in an inner tube behind the speedboat) and there was an algae bloom, I broke out in hives, the only time in my life that has happened. But if I am allergic to lake water, that has dire implications for my career!

I even went so far as to check the ingredients in the "natural" hand lotion I may have used the mornings before I went out; perhaps just one ingredient might cause a reaction in me when exposed to sunlight. But of course the label was unspecific when it came to "essential oils".

I should not complain; I know of others who have far worse lots with allergies and general health. But the first time anything happens, you gotta wonder.


Floridacracker said...

I did some pond cleaning a few weeks ago and spent alot of time wading in chara algae and also reaching into it to grab wads of it and toss on the bank. After that, I got a rash on both arms in the carpal tunnel zone and on my feet and halfway up the lower leg. Exactly the parts that were in constant algae contact that day. Never happened before and I don't know if it was algae reaction or some little critters in the weed...I tend to think it was an algae reaction...nurse wife thinks so too.

I'm just not very allergic so I never suspect that first.

Endment said...

A number of medications cause photosensativity - I have problems every time I get out in the sun but the rash does not always show up where the skin is exposed but where anything rubs or irritates the skin... I hate to say it --- a doctor might have some advice - but then again ---

pablo said...

I'm not qualified to give you any medical advice, but I do think you're wonderful, if that is any help.

Gina said...

I think it's too early in the year, but do you have any wild parsnip down there yet? The pollen causes photosensitivity when it gets wet on skin... I used to get red blisters from it when I lived in southern MN. It's everywhere down there. Good luck!

Deb said...

FC- is swimmers' itch common around there? I forget what organism causes it but snails are one of the hosts.

endment- yeah, but then again! I'm just the type who won't take time to see a doctor unless it's really important.

pablo- yes, that helps, and your capacity to make me blush is infinite!

Gina- I think we may have wild parsnip around here but it is probably way too early. Of course there are all kinds of other pollens drifting around, so who knows.

I do think it is at least partly a photosensitivity thing now; today I was out on the lake again but it was cloudy. I deliberately wet my right hand and parts of my arm wiht lake water and nothing happened.

lené said...

My grandmother was actually known to be allergic to sunlight. She would get hives when she was exposed, but I don't know if it was on all of her skin or just parts of it. She's the only one I've ever known allergic to the sun. Just a thought. The other one I had was wondering whether you ever wear gloves when you're at the lake. Sometimes the powder they line latex and non-latex gloves with can be an irritant. Hope it gets better, Deb.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo you shmoooozer.