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Blister type rash - cellulitis?

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sher
sher Member Posts: 76
edited October 2022 in Lymphedema

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I started with spots/rash/blisters something on my lymphedema affected forearm yesterday which has continued to spread - first on top of arm, today spreading to bottom of forearm, couple spots just above elbow. The last several days I have been physically overworking my arm so it is more swollen and sorer than usual - only wear nighttime compression garments. I've been in contact with 2 different on-call doctors who both say it doesn't look like cellulitis and refuse prescribing antibiotic. No fever and no increased warmth in the arm. Thoughts? While I've had lymphedema for several years, never have had cellulitis thankfully.


Edit - This isn't a very good photo, not sure what I'm doing wrong but don't seem able to add another.

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  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,066
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    sher,

    None of us are doctors but what I know about cellulitis concurs with what you’ve been told by the on call docs. They are not refusing to prescribe antibiotics, rather they are being responsible and not giving you drugs for a condition you likely don’t have. Have you considered seeing a dermatologist?

  • sher
    sher Member Posts: 76
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    Yes exbrnxgrl, I do have an already scheduled appointment on Tuesday with dermatologist - perfect timing, right? Hopefully just a case of panic with me thinking it could be cellulitis. Course anything this widespread on a lymphedema affected arm could be potentially serious.

    Thanks for your reply!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,066
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    You’re very welcome. Tuesday is just around the corner and will hopefully set your mind at ease.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    sher - Glad you have an appointment with a dermatologist. I've had both cellulitis and separately, numerous rashes. The cellulitis was red, warm, swollen, hard, and painful without spots/blisters. The rashes were worse than your picture and required prescription topical steroids. Keep your arm clean and hopefully they're not too itchy.

  • sher
    sher Member Posts: 76
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    Hi serenitystat,

    My 'rash' kept getting worse, spreading out further so I decided to go to a local walk-in clinic and have it looked at. The PA-C confirmed not cellulitis and prescribed topical steroid cream. I know the photo I attached in my original post wasn't very good - evidently I'm not the best photographer and I couldn't figure out how to attach more than one photo which may have shown the condition better. Oddly, whatever it is - not itchy (so far) so that's a good thing. The rashes you have had were on an affected limb? Does having lymphedema increase the risk or susceptibility for rashes, other skin problems etc not just the worrisome cellulitis?

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Those creams work! Be sure to wash your hands after using.

    My rashes have not been on my LE arm. The worst rash I had started on one leg and spread almost everywhere except my LE arm. For me LE hasn’t made my arm more susceptible to rashes, but it is slower to heal. I don’t know what triggered my cellulitis. My LE specialist said bacteria can enter through dry skin or hangnails. I'm ultra-vigilant with that arm since having cellulitis. I had a bee sting on my hand once. I immediately put a frozen piece of aloe on it and kept it on with tape until all of the gel was absorbed. The next day the bite was gone. I should remember to do that to bites elsewhere.

  • sher
    sher Member Posts: 76
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    Wow, great tip on the frozen aloe! Do you just cut pieces from a plant or is this something entirely different?

    I'm very bad about biting at the dry skin around my nails and my LE therapist has strongly told me NOT to do this.I keep my nails short, but don't bother much with cuticles - my bad. I always, always use lotion whenever I wash my hands, but even then the skin around my nails gets dry. When I notice it as fingers rub together, I use an emery board to file, but do unthinkingly find myself biting the dry skin off.

    Weird how I got this rash. I'm right handed and this is on my left - that plus absolutely nothing I can think of that I had been in contact with (either arm) to cause something like this.


  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    I don't always know why a rash started, but my big one started with a bug bite on my leg.

    For the frozen aloe, I use my aloe plants. I take one leaf, let the latex drain out (place in glass for > 30 mins), peel off thorny edges, cut into small segments, rinse, split using spoon, lay gel side up on plate, freeze, and move into a storage container. I use the rinse water for plants.

    I first did this to use the aloe on my face, but then found other uses. After I used a piece on my face, I rubbed my nails with the aloe. That stopped my thumbnail from splitting. Nice surprise. It may help stop you from biting your skin. Most people don't like the taste of aloe. It will help with your dry cuticles. Listen to your LE therapist! 😊

  • sher
    sher Member Posts: 76
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    I'll have to get some aloe plants and try this. Did you ever consider making a video of your extraction process and posting here?

    Saw dermatology PA-C and Doctor today. Both confirmed not cellulitis and agreed my rash looks like bug bites. They suggested contact with something when remodeling recently - we pulled out some very old carpeting about 2 weeks prior to rash development. If mites, I thought they didn't actually bite? After removing the carpeting and cleaning that mess up, we moved on to painting the room. I'm not a very neat painter, so they thought possibly I had some kind of reaction to the paint on my skin. No idea or explanation for either cause, bites or paint, as to why only on one forearm when obviously more of my body was in contact with both.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    LOL! No videos from me. The steps I described are pretty basic. I'm very lazy and needed the minimalist version. Some people actually blend the gel and make aloe ice cubes. Ask if you have questions.

    There are 2 varieties of aloe vera, and I found the barbadensis variety holds up better after freezing. The outer skin in the chinensis is thinner. Often the labels won't specify the variety. The chinensis looks like a fan until it's more mature, and the barbadensis grows into a rosette very early.

    It's not surprising the docs gave different possible sources for your rash. Sometimes you won't know. Just try to keep the skin healthy. Hope your rash is improving.