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Medical Strange swelling on hands and arm

  1. Jul 20, 2008 #1


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    I forgot about this for about 2 years. It all started, in the summer a few years back.
    My hand started swelling in a little patch on the top of my hand. I scratched it and it proceeded to swell up into a painful lump. (Is it always the case that swelling on the hands becomes painful due to the stretching of the skin?) My trouble wasn't over. It spread over the hands and to the fingers. One finger swelled and then the next, untill 3 fingers including the pinky were swollen. I scratched, and the swelling became so much that the whole hand hurt to the touch. It got worse. It then spread up to my wrist. The scratching continued, and the skin was hot to the touch. Then it went to my lower arm. It then went up to the upper arm. (all behind the arm, exept for the hand which had it all over)
    I had the same happen the year after. It also occured in the summer months. It also proceeded to creep up my arm and produce unbarable itching. (IT WAS THE MOST ITCHY THING EVER)
    I went to see my dermatologist. Actually it took 2 months to actually see her. By the time I did see her, it was gone. (how can they expect the ailment to still be there 2 MONTHS AFTER?!)
    Now, I have forgotten it. It has not reappeared for a few years. Now I fear it is back. My thumb has swollen on the bottom part, where we touch things with. It was itchy and I have scratched it. Now it's swollen and hurts to touch it.

    Well I fear it may be:
    Parasite of some sort that effects the hand
    Hives (caused by an allergy)

    I did note that my doctor took a blood test on me. (normal doctor) He said that some count was high. I think it was an eosinophil count. It was high. He said that it was probably due to an, "allergy." I did not mention the swelling that had occured previously. (I don't recall the time difference between the swelling etc. and the test, but it was some time after)

    So, I just hope that it is not going to spread :cry:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2008 #2


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    Is it possible that you came into contact with poison ivy? It is a plant that produces a toxin that gives you an itchy rash, which spreads over time.

    Go and see your doctor again. Find out what the rash is and if there are topical agents that can counteract the reaction you are having.
  4. Jul 20, 2008 #3


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    An allergic reaction certainly could account for the symptoms, as could an infection. Presumably the blood test done by the doctor would identify which one was most likely. The spread of the swelling you're describing is very typical of ANY infection or inflammation in the hand. The back of the hand has the loosest skin, so even an infection in the palmar side of the hand can spread and cause swelling on the back side, because it's the only place to go. (When your hand isn't swollen, you can pinch the skin on the back of your hand and see how easily it moves/how loose it is, and then try on the palm of your hand and see how tight the skin is, and attached to underlying tissue.)

    If it's an allergy, try antihistamines, like Benadryl. The cause will be tough to determine if it's not something obvious like poison ivy. Perhaps a bug bite, some other plant you only encounter in summer, chemicals used in a pool, suntan lotion? If your regular doctor has determined it's some sort of allergy, you will probably need to see an allergist to diagnose the source of it. At least if it always happens at the same time of year, you can narrow the list more than if it was random times of year.

    The scratching probably isn't making it worse, but you should still try not to scratch. If it's poison ivy and you haven't gotten the oils off your hands yet, you can spread that further, but if it's any other allergy, the real risk of scratching is secondary infection where you scratch open the skin.
  5. Jul 21, 2008 #4


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    no ivy contact
    It's not a rash either. It's just a hard swollen lump.

    True it may be an infection. If there is no cut, or opening in the skin, how can it be an infection?
    However, it did not go on the top side of my hand. It went traveling up the side of the palm, then up the arm.
    I remember taking Benadryl, but nothing happened.
    Pool: I don't swim
    I always thought that I had to go to a dermatologist, for skin conditions. 2 months after the incident when the swelling had gone, she says, "I think it's nothing."
    I don't think anyone will take my small swelling on my thumb, seriously though.
    But it's very very itchy. I have found that my skin is..shedding? I have washed my hands alot, lately and the soap might be to blame.

    Thanks for both of your opinions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
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