Husband Has Mystery rash...what Could It Be?

Updated on January 19, 2012
S.H. asks from Harned, KY
19 answers

My husband has some common allergies & sensitive skin, but never really has a major reaction to anything. We have used All Free & Clear laundry detergent for years and have always used white Dove soap. In the last few days, he has mysteriously broken out in a rash that covers his arms, tops of his legs and sides of his abdomen. He broke out early one night & the rash appeared to be quite a bit better by the next morning. However, the next night he broke out bad again. We cannot think of anything that might have caused this. He hasn't eaten anything out of the ordinary and we haven't changed any of our cleaning or bath products. I'd appreciate some help on this....he can't sleep & benadryl isn't helping.

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answers from San Diego on

Isn't he planning to go to the doctor? Rashes are usually difficult to diagnose. But sometimes they can be signs of serious things. So if he doesn't already know about skin issues, he should be seen.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Take PHOTOS of him when his rashes are present.
So that, when he goes to the Doctor, (and it has disappeared), he can show the Doctor the photos.

And yes, GO TO THE Doctor.

Benadryl is not helping. Thus, to me, this is not a typical allergy rash.

And hopefully, it is not anything Contagious.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Columbia on

change laundry detergents. I'm a guy with sensitive skin, and I have to change soaps and deoderants every once in awhile - otherwise my body seems to "fill up" on its resistance and I get a rash.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think I have more questions than answers!

- does he have a fever?
- is this rash raised or bumpy?
- is the rash itchy?
- is the rash warm to the touch?
- have you checked for fleas or bed bugs?
- how long has this been going on?
- are there any stressors in your life that might cause him to break out?
- is the rash any particular shape? Does it look like a butterfly?
- does he have pain anywhere else on his body?

I would take off every sheet, pillow, bed cover, mattress cover and wash it in baking soda and vinegar. Start washing all your clothes in baking soda.
Do not use ANY softeners - Downy, Bounce, etc.

If benedryl is not working - it's not necessarily an allergic reaction.

I would take him to the Urgent Care if it is still on his right now and have him checked out. Blood tests run - to include a test for Lupus - and don't stop until you get to the bottom of it.

good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with Liv_Bold. Don't just focus on allergies. He could have something else going on like illness. Any fever or other subtle or different symptoms? I guess I'd go to the doctor if this really seems out of nowhere.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Please don't be alarmed by my response, but my Husband came down with a rash similar to what you're describing and it turned out to be Shingles. This is caused from having Chicken Pox as a child and some of it lodges deep down in the inner ear. Stress can bring it on at any given time or moment.
Hope it's not Shingles, but I'd check it out. Hope he gets better real soon, and best of luck to you too. Be Well,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

His rash is that extensive, and comes back? He should have seen a doctor already. Please get him to one today - don't do the usual thing of "Oh, we'll wait until we can get an appointment..." which could be in a week. The doctor needs to see the rash while it is present and at its worst.

This could be an allergy as you seem to think -- or not. Don't make assumptions. Get him to a doctor. This is a pretty extensive rash and nothing to wait for our opinions on....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

As others have said, it could be anything.

Don't discount things he has always been ok with - I( continue to have new allergies develop even tho I'm early 30's. Food allergies started developing at 30. metal allergies developed at 20. It could be a new formulation on something he was previously ok with - for instance, detergents are not completely regulated, especially laundry detergent, and they are not required to disclose all ingredients - even the carcinogenic ones.

Visit a Dr, it could be anything - ringworm, allergic rxn, stress, etc

Start with liberal application of Eucerin cream daily. If that doesn't help, try exclusion techniques - switch to soap nuts and dryer balls for two weeks and if that helps, great! If not, go back to what u were using. Try excluding nuts or dairy or eggs, etc for two weeks at a time (if food allergies, those allergens can continue to cause a rxn for up to 3 wks after consumption) and see if that makes a difference. It took 18 m to figure out mine was food allergies - and then another 6 m to figure out ringworm - and then another year to figure out aloe....

Start with a dr, tho :) I just wouldn't go with one whose thought process immediately goes to drugs, or "fixing" the problem by fixing the symptoms instead of finding a cure....Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

My mom started breaking out with a rash, itchy skin, similar to what you describe. She learned she was allergic to anything that contained sulfates in it. Her doctor prescribed triamcylinone (sp?) cream to help it. Also could it be stress related?
I would call your doctor's office or even talk with a pharmacist. They may be able to give you some guidance on what to use to provide relief.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Also try switching to Ivory soap, it was recommended to me may years ago. It is very pure, without a lot of scent.

I have never had a problem with it and I often use other scented washes on occasion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I agree with "Dad". This is a reaction to something and if nothing has truly changed, it could be what he previously was not allergic to.

Make sure you all recall his intake of all foods, drinks. All dry cleaning, everything possible.

If he is in discomfort, make sure he sees the doctor.

He sounds like his system is just very sensitive and after a while just cannot tolerate things any longer.

Could also be something in the air. Here were we live the weather is mild and the pollens that bloom at this time can send people to bed or even to the hospital with all sorts of complications.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Does it itch? Is it raised? Is it red? Are they skin tone?

Any change in diet? Has he been doing yard work? Do you have a dog? (The dog could have gotten into something and it rubbed off on him)... check your bed for (ew, I know), bed bugs...

I can't have anything with almonds, too much tomato paste, and SOMETHING in a spicy tuna roll, or, and wine, orange juice, or champagne... Keep the benadryl in his system; if it's not better by tomorrow, he should see a doctor.

Also, and help him with this, thoroughly check him over for insect bites. Don't forget to check his scalp and between fingers/toes.

Try an oatmeal bath, probably 2 packets in a full bath, that should help, and after wards use some Aveeno soothing lotion (the kind in the baby aisle is the most gentle).

Hope he feels better soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Has he worn new undershirts or underwear without being washed? My husband once got a rash from that and it's apparently a real and somewhat common, although totally weird, thing! ;) He was covered from the neck to his knees and he was not happy or comfortable!

I probably would head to the doctor as soon as he can though, rashes are hard to diagnose and can be signs of other issues. If he doesn't already have a dermatologist, he should find one!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnson City on

Could he have poison ivy? You can still get poison ivy in the winter months.

Just today my niece ended up with a contact allergy. We gave her Benadryl gel to apply to the rash and prednisone (prescription) to help stop the inflamation.

Ibuprofen helps inflamation to a degree but prednisone works wonders.

Oatmeal bath to sooth the itching also.. but not a hot bath as that irritates a rash... and still take the benadryl.

An ice pack sometimes helps calm itching.
If it's a contact allergy... take a bath.

Good luck!


answers from Detroit on

As someone else suggested you definitely want to take a picture of your hubby w/the rash present so that when he goes to the doctor he can see what the rash looks like and definitely have your hubby get in w/his doctor sooner rather than later.



answers from Lexington on

Has the weather changed dramatically where you live? I will sometimes get those types of rashes when it gets very dry or going from hot to cold quickly.



answers from Kansas City on

HI, my husband has the exact same problem. We think it is stress. My husband is a day sleeper, and works a lot. He usually sleeps about 3-5 hours a day, because he just can sleep during the day. Anyway, he gets a rash, on the insides of his thighs, and on his abdomen, and under his arms too. We have been to the dr, no luck. We went to an allergy dr, had him tested for everything under the sun. No luck. He is a healthy eater, and not overweight, and exercises daily. On the weekends, when he sleeps at night, he uses benadryl too, and that does not work. I have a friend, who is the exact same way too, and she is a day sleeper too. One thing I can say, is your All free and clear is good, but don't use dryer sheets, or fabric softener either. Use those dryer balls if you have to. Our allergy dr said that there is something in the sheets and fabric softener, that can get on your skin and cause a problem, if you are suseptible. Use that soap called Cetaphil, you can buy it at Walmart. It helps a lot. But you have to think about Shampoo too, because if it is scented, it still runs down his body when he rinses it off. And another thing to think of, which is what we ruled out too, is athletes foot. the dr suggested that if you have athletes foot, and you put your underwear on before your socks, that your feet touch your underwear, and transfer the athletes foot to your legs. So I can also suggest to use that athletes foot cream and have it put it on the problem areas. Other than that, it is a mystery. I'd suggest going to an allergy doctor tho, just to make sure you have all your bases covered. My husband has also started having breathing problem in th night too, so he has to take an inhaler sometimes too. No asthma here either. We both really think it is stress just caused by having the opposite schedule, as our bodies are used to. Good luck to you.



answers from Jacksonville on

It is possible he has ezcema? Has he ever Ben diagnosed? My kids and I have super sensitive skin and this sounds like a bad outbreak. We use alot of aquaphor and dove. Sometimes there is a need to go to the doctor to get special prescriptions of cream for really bad flare ups. I dont know this is just a guess. Good luck and get that man some hydrocortisone please, : ).


O and I forgot please see the doctor ASAP. Self diagnosis is not recommended for anything, let alone a rash. Hope you guys get anwsered soon! : )


answers from Hartford on

It's possible that a formulation in one of your cleaners/soaps has changed and he's not reacting well to it. If Benedryl isn't working then that means it's likely not an allergic reaction to something.

It could be a virus or bacterial infection. My suggestion would be to get him to the doctor and get a referral to a Dermatologist. There's no reason to play a guessing game and continue to suffer through this.

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