ZocdocAnswersI have clusters of small bumps after camping, what could this be?s

Question

I have clusters of small bumps after camping, what could this be?s

The past 4 days I've been staying at a cabin & yestrday when got home started breaking out. First noticed on hands, face, & neck. Today there's large patches also on my upper arms. The bumps are hard, no pus, and not painful. Yesterday I took benadryl but it didn't help. The mattress was plastic covered & saw no signs of bed bugs. While camping I wore my old fleece jacket & cooked on open fire. The cabin was in an RV park so wasn't out in the woods or had any nature encounters. I used the "hotel" soap which was an aloe vera variety. Today I squeezed one of the bumps & nothing came out, it just left a bright red dot.

Answer

Sorry to hear about your bad experience in the great outdoors. Obviously, common things are common, and so poison ivy would be one of my first concerns when I hear your symptoms. The large patches of affected area would seem to be in favor of this diagnosis, although these are almost always more painful. The reaction to poison ivy (or any similar plant that has oil that can be toxic) is a type of hypersensitivity reaction that can persist for days, and results from the oil being taken into the body. Washing the affected area is important the first time it happens, but thereafter it is less important other than to keep it from spreading. Steroids are often necessary to lead to a complete resolution. This is a common condition that your primary care doctor should be able to help with. Bedbugs are another possibility, but these also tend to be painful. They are increasing common, and can present in clusters of very itchy welts that appear on the body. Your primary care doctor would also be able to help with this. Other possibilities are quite numerous, and include other allergies, encounters with infectious conditions, reactions, and other possibilities. Please speak with your doctor about your question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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