Vacation Gone Wrong: 7 Skin Rashes People Got Abroad

by | Jun 28, 2017 | Allergy, Blog, Eczema, Hives, News, Rash, Traveling

Cruise Vacation Gone Wrong: 7 Skin Rashes People Got Abroad

 

Vacation Rash on your Travels

It’s summer, and more than one-third of Americans are taking a family vacation. But every year, many people’s vacations have gone wrong because of travel-related rashes. These rashes can have different causes: bed bugs in Airbnb, tick bites while hiking, unknown itchy red marks and so on.

What kind of travel-related rashes do people get?

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the most common dermatologic conditions in ill-returned travelers are arthropod-related ones (31%), pyodermas (13%), soil-related ones (11%), and animal-related ones (9%).

Over the past few summers, we’ve received many cases about travel-related rashes. Below you can read some questions that we have got.

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1. Dermatitis

Location: Thailand, Southern California

Online Dermatologist question
I’ve just noticed this rash about 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t itch or hurt. The bumps are red. The rash is about the size of a pea. I live in Southern California. I just recently returned from Thailand about 2 weeks ago.

Dermatitis abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-L25

Online Dermatologist answer
Possibly dermatitis (eczema), inflammation of the skin. Often times, it’s caused by dry skin or by irritation from contact with water or chemicals. Moisturizing cream and a topical steroid would be recommended. Usually, mild steroid creams such as Hydrocortisone 1% are sold over-the-counter. Apply twice daily for a couple of weeks to start with and apply moisturizer regularly as well. If not better, see a dermatologist in person to rule out other diagnoses. A more potent steroid creams may be needed for example requiring a prescription. Sometimes a biopsy is needed to determine the exact diagnosis.

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2. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Location: Cruise, Mexico

Online Dermatologist question

Localized papules that appeared in April 2016 – approx 2 weeks post cruise in Mexico. Itches occasionally. They are in no other location of the body. They are red today from skiing/tubing activities over the weekend. No fever, no pain.

cutaneous leishmaniasis abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-B55.1

Online Dermatologist answer
Based on your history and the photos you’ve taken, this is likely to cutaneous leishmaniasis: it is a parasite infection occurring in certain parts of the world including Mexico. It is being spread by infected sand flies. Most of the lesions eventually develop into an oozing ulcer. The diagnosis is made from microscopy slides from the side of the lesion and treatment consists of injection with sodiumstibuguclonate. I suggest you see your local dermatologist as soon as possible.

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3. Phytophotodermatitis, also known as “lime disease” (but not the same as Lyme disease) or “Berloque dermatitis”

Location: Tulum, Mexico

Online Dermatologist question
Right shin. Red and brown tinge. About 2.5cm. Had for around 14 days. Came up whilst on holiday, after around 5 days in Tulum, Mexico. BABY IS 8 MONTHS OLD! No itch, no apparent pain, not flakey, no bump or not raised.

lime disease Berloque dermatitis phytophotodermatitis abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-L56.2

Online Dermatologist answer
Thank you for sending your case. Based on the information and images, this is most likely caused by an external agent and possibly a PHYTOPHOTODERMATITIS: A phototoxic reaction to contact with certain plants and it generally occurs during the spring or summer or in sunny climates abroad following some outdoor activity on a sunny day during which there has been contacting with one of the responsible plants. Its name has 3 components: Phyto (plant), photo (light) and dermatitis (inflammatory rash). During the acute inflammatory stage, reddened patches appear on exposed skin, usually the forearms or lower legs. These are often irregularly distributed and odd in shape. The skin disease is induced by the action of long wavelength ultraviolet radiation (UVA) on a plant chemical called furocoumarins (psoralens) on the skin surface. The reaction causes inflammation in the epidermis and activation of the pigment cells to produce melanin pigment. Contact with the plant, fruit or vegetable may have been brief and unnoticed. The plants normally responsible for this reaction are parsley, parsnips, celery, carrot, fig, lime and several species of wild flowers (Umbelliferae). The plant may even be a component in a cream or essential oil. You may try to treat the rash with a topical steroid cream (Hydrocortisone 1%, available over-the-counter without a prescription), applied twice daily for a week, then once every week and later 1-2 times weekly as long as you have any symptoms. By the time pigmentation has occurred, the inflammatory phase of phytophotodermatitis is over and this means that anti-inflammatory treatments like topical steroids are only useful in the very early phase of redness and blistering. The post-inflammatory pigmentation that follows responds poorly to treatment with bleaching creams. It fades gradually over weeks to months. Using covering clothing and broad-spectrum sunscreens, the affected skin should be protected from further sun exposure, which might cause the pigmentation to darken.

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4. Pyogenic Granuloma

Location: Darwin, Australia and California, USA

Online Dermatologist question
I do a lot of traveling. The last month I have been in Darwin, Australia, central California (Where I first noticed this just before I left) and now Yokohama, Japan. It is located on the back of my scrotum behind the left testicle. It does not seem to directly itch, but there is a minor pain when I touch it. I started looking online and came across mites, ticks, and scabies and now I itch a lot but I am not sure if that is a symptom or just my imagination after reading all those articles. It has been 6 or 7 days since I first noticed it. Started smaller and it might be moving.

Pyogenic Granuloma abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-L98.0

Online Dermatologist answer

Thank you for sending your case. Based on the information and images, this is possibly a PYOGENIC GRANULOMA: Pyogenic granuloma is a common, benign growth that often appears as a rapidly growing, bleeding bump on the skin or inside the mouth. It can appear on the skin spontaneously or after some sort of trauma. It is composed of blood vessels and may occur at the site of minor injury. Pyogenic Granulomas occur in people of all races. The most common locations for Pyogenic Granulomas are the lips, gums, and inner mouth. Typically, Pyogenic Granulomas appear as a beefy, red bump that enlarges rapidly over a few weeks. On average, Pyogenic Granulomas are about 5–10 mm in diameter. They may bleed easily and, in some cases, can be tender. Very rarely, more than one lesion of Pyogenic Granuloma may develop at the same time at the same site. This should be electrocauterized or surgically removed by a Dermatologist, and the lesion sent to a lab for pathological examination. I would recommend that you see a Dermatologist in-person to confirm the assessment and for appropriate treatment. It doesn’t look like a tick or similar in your pictures but this can better be assessed at the dermatologist.

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5. Urticaria (Hives)

Location: Cusco, Peru

Online Dermatologist question
It’s now Wednesday evening and my 15 y.o. son first noticed this rash on Monday evening, two days ago, in Cusco, Peru, after being in Agua Calientes (a  small town near Machu Picchu), Peru on Friday and in Macchu Picchu on Saturday. The rash is mainly on his back, from his shoulder blades down to his upper buttocks, but there is some rash on both sides of his torso. The rash is mostly red, small, irregular circles, interspersed with patches of noncircular red rash. IHe reports it is only mildly itchy, if at all. The red circles and patches of redness are very slightly raised. We are now in a small beach town in northern Peru, but there is a pharmacy with basic medicines.

Hives Urticaria abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-L50

Online Dermatologist answer
Based on the information and images submitted, this is possibly a URTICARIA: Hives commonly caused by medication, infection or an external irritant resulting in an allergic reaction but can also be triggered by different stimuli such as contact with certain plants, insect bites, etc. The hives arise from the release of the substance histamine in the skin causing local inflammation. Symptoms include swelling, itching or burning, raised, red skin welts. Acute urticaria, as in your son’s case, usually lasts days to weeks and can be treated with antihistamines (e.g. Aerius or cetirizine over-the-counter in most countries). If the reaction is acute, see a doctor immediately. If no improvement after some days or if it spreads, see a dermatologist or your doctor in person for an evaluation.

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6. Contact Dermatitis

Location: Mexico

Online Dermatologist question

On both legs – about 4″x2″ on one leg (pictured) about 2″ X1″ on another leg. Have had this for about four days, began during a trip to Mexico. My very white legs were briefly exposed the sun, also several minutes in a sauna and a hot tub. Very itchy periodically (not continually); hurts when I scratch it. My primary concern, as a liver transplant recipient (6 years, very healthy) is that the skin has broken in several places, so I worry about infection.

Contact dermatitis abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-L25

Dermatologist answer

Thank you for sending your case of a recent rash on both legs. Based on the information and images of your left lower leg, this is possibly a type of contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is a type of inflammation of the skin that is usually induced by exposure to allergens (Allergic contact dermatitis) or irritants (Irritative contact dermatitis). Common allergens are nickel, chrome and other metals, perfumes, substances in hair dyes, preservatives such as formaldehyde, etc. In regards to irritants, contact with chemicals in cleaning products or even excessive exposure to water can be the cause. Irritant dermatitis can also be from contact with plants especially with subsequent sun exposure (A phytophotodermatitis). The skin may appear red, dry and itchy. Scratching should be avoided since this just makes it worse. At-home treatment options include: avoiding substances that may be irritants, applying over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream (twice daily for a week, then once daily for another week and then every other day for 2 weeks) plus moisturizing cream. If it doesn’t improve, see a dermatologist in person for testing to rule out allergic contact dermatitis. More potent steroid creams requiring a prescription may be needed. The amount of surface abrasion does not look severe enough to be a risk of infection even in a transplant recipient but if the skin becomes more red or swollen or painful you should seek advice/treatment in person from your physician.

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 7. Tinea Faciei (Ringworm)

Location: Maldives and Thailand

Online Dermatologist question

I traveled to Maldives and Thailand with my wife and when we came back from Thailand after a 24-hour journey on air both me and her started getting these on our face burn mine is much worse. It started under my beard on a small side of my face 10 days ago. I thought it would go away but then my chin and under my mouth started getting it as well. However, the first part that started is almost healed after 10 days but it’s now spreading. I have done some research, but I am not sure if it’s ringworms or maybe psoriasis, please help me. I had clear skin before this and had no issues.

Ringworm Tinea Faicei abroad summer vacation travel skin rashes ICD-10-B35.9

Dermatologist answer

Thank you for submission. Based on the information and images, this is possibly a Tinea faciei: Tinea faciei (ringworm), a fungal infection of the skin. I would recommend that you see a family doctor or a dermatologist in person who can order a culture. If fungus is present, a 2-4 week treatment with oral terbinafine 250 mg can be prescribed. Avoid applying any topical antifungal medicine until the culture has been done. Nevertheless, other diagnoses may also be considered including DERMATITIS (inflammation of the skin). If the culture comes back negative, dermatitis may be the diagnosis and a topical steroid cream and moisturizers may be applied to improve the symptoms.

 

Is this what you have? Try our FREE Skin Image Search today and get peace of mind 

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