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Garden Rash or shingles?

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Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  jwbryson on 6/22/2010, 2:30 pm

I've been working in my SFG a lot lately and have developed an occasional rash along the inside of my forearms, primarily on my wrists. I also get a lot of itching along the tops of my fingers. This is not limited to time spent in the garden. It also tends to flare up on occasion while I'm at work, hours later.

I mostly touch yellow zucchini and squash in my garden. My wife just had a case of shingles, but I don't think that is what I've got, though I also have had chicken pox in the past and currently have been feeling a bit under the weather lately.

Has anybody else had this problem and is it common? I have no food allergies. Not looking for medical advice, but I'm curious if this is an issue for other people.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  Garden_State on 6/22/2010, 2:32 pm

Nothing like that here. Hope you feel better.

Pete
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  boffer on 6/22/2010, 2:42 pm

My wife has similar reactions to squash and cuke leaves. Enough so, that I usually do all the trellising, harvesting and clean up.
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  chocolatepop on 6/22/2010, 3:00 pm

Sounds like a contact reaction over shingles.
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  pattipan on 6/22/2010, 3:38 pm

Shingles commonly break out along a nerve path(s). My guess is it's a rash from the veggies.

Patti
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Link

Post  ander217 on 6/22/2010, 4:05 pm

This links to a site that has photos of shingles on the arm and hands so you can compare.

https://health.google.com/health/ref/Shingles
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  silverbug on 6/22/2010, 4:38 pm

Ever since I did the gardens my forearms are ithcing like all get out. BAD. It's been months, and it's only simmering down a bit now. My right forearm is itching right now. It's on and off, but more on than off. It's been bumming me out big time. Benedryl, Claritin, none of that works. The only thing to offer relief is Sarna cream. It's WEIRD and my gut says it was something in the components of the Mel's Mix. BUT, it won't go away, and I'm not out there touching anything in the soil to speak of anymore. I've gone a couple weeks without touching the garden at all, and been itchier than ever.

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  Dunkinjean on 6/22/2010, 5:05 pm

Silverbug,

I am so sorry for your rash and symptoms.

I always get a rash on my arms whenever I work in the yard. But my rash disappears after a few days.

It may or may not have any connection to your garden. To be safe you should see a doctor/dermatologist.

Good luck.

Happy Gardening Everyone....

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  LaFee on 6/22/2010, 5:13 pm

Several years ago, I bought a pair of rose-tending gloves at Home Depot or Lowe's (can't remember) -- they're made of goat skin, so they're very soft and light, but they come up almost all the way to the elbow. (Long, tough gloves are essential when doing yardwork in Florida -- everything has thorns and spines!)

Have a look around your garden centers. Barring that, even a pair of cheap surgical gloves will break the contact directly with your hands -- skin allergies are no fun at all.

And above all...if you even think it's shingles, get yourself to a doctor...it's very, very painful, and can be a health risk.

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  silverbug on 6/22/2010, 5:30 pm

My issue very well may not have anything to do with the garden, but it was rather coincidental. The only other thing that I've read up on the internet about this is a nerve disorder, since there is absolutely NO visible rash. Bumps from itching too much will rise, but if you looked at my arms, you'd NEVER know that it itches to the point of serious distraction. There are a lot of people out there with my fore arm issue, and they've concluded after many doctor's visits, they've discovered a nerve path interference or some such thing.

Shingles, from my understanding is very typical around the back, chest and waist. Herpes Zoster type virus, and I'd imagine there would be blisters present, no?

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  LaFee on 6/22/2010, 5:39 pm

My understanding is that shingles is typically on the trunk, but the google images linked above show it on hands, arms, etc...I've only seen it on other people, but I'm told that it's incredibly painful, much more than itchy.

Allergic reactions don't always show in hives or blisters, either -- but the possibility of infection from scratching always exists.

Bottom line is, it isn't a normal condition for a healthy adult. Best to have it checked out sooner rather than later, if it doesn't go away in a day or two.

The fact that you haven't been in the garden, but the itching is still active, pretty much eliminates contact with something in the garden. Have you switched soaps lately? New hand cream? Maybe a new dish soap?

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  chocolatepop on 6/22/2010, 10:54 pm

is there any swelling or redness? (other than from itching) does an antihistamine or allergy medicine help?
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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  silverbug on 6/23/2010, 12:48 pm

No, no, no and no. I haven't changed anything, there is no redness, no visible rash. I'm aware that it isn't normal, and I intend to get to the dermatologist. The only reason I haven't rushed off is that I'm highly dermatic, allergic to many, many things, ever since I was stung by a yellow jacket and discovered I'm deathly allergic to them, I became HIGHLY sensitive to seasonal things, as well as molds, etc...This isn't alarming me. As I said, it's either some funky allergy, or some sort of nerve issue, possibly having to do with a neck problem I've been dealing with. HOWEVER, as I said, it popped up immediately after dealing with the soil mixture, and has been with me since. It's improving and I feel confident it's on the way out, but allergy meds really didn't do squat for it either. It's a mystery. The camphor cream alleviates it, and I'm ok with that. When I make the appointment for my moles and other things (red head here...notorious for skin problems and allergies...yay me) I'll bring it up, but without being able to see anything, and having been down this road A LOT, I can hear her now "probably some sort of contact dermatitis".

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  SFG in Chicago on 6/27/2010, 4:17 am

Shingles is very painful. You also don't catch shingles from another
person with shingles. You get shingles from having chicken pox earlier
in life and the virus stays dormant in your body, sometimes causing
shingles at some later time. If you have never had or been vaccinated
for chicken pox, you CAN get chicken pox from someone who has shingles.
There is now a shingles vaccine available, recommended for people over
60.

I don't seem to get rashes from gardening, but my Mom does. Often. Once she was helping me clear away some overgrown agave plants and she got the sap on her arms. Within minutes she was in severe discomfort, itching so bad she was in tears. I was slathering benedryl cream on her arms and having her hold ice packs on them. For a few minutes I thought I was going to have to take her to the ER!. Luckily it started to subside after 30 minutes or so. I know this is not the same reaction you're having but just to say some people do have reactions to some plants. Maybe you could try wearing long sleeves and gardening gloves to prevent the plants from contacting your skin & see if your rashes clear up.

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  sceleste54 on 6/27/2010, 10:19 am

There are also a number of microsopic parasites that live in the soil, we call them sand worms down here. The larval stages can get in thru the skin while you are working in the soil. There is a medicine to get rid of them.. see your doctor..!!

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Re: Garden Rash or shingles?

Post  PB on 6/27/2010, 10:59 am

As much as I love to garden. I get ITCHY!! Cucumbers, tomato leaves, squash, horrible breakouts to okra. I use surgical gloves. You can buy them at walmart or automobile mechanic type stores. Get nitrile, no latex ones. I once got an okra reaction so badly I was ready to go to the hospital!! I then remembered Grandmother saying to use apple cider vinegar. Yep it worked!! Clean with Ivory soap, put vinegar on cloth and keep wet till itch goes away. Works for me!! Good luck!
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