In mid-February I began noticing some itchy rash spots on my scalp and back and hips. These would come and go, but by March it was very widespread– front and back of both legs, buttocks, hips, both arms, a few spots on the back and abdomen. The front of my thighs was particularly bad. It was hot, red and very itchy, especially in the evenings when it was so uncomfortable that I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. On March 28, I saw my primary physician, who gave me hydrocortisone cream, then the next week when I told him it hadn’t worked and the rash was spreading, he sent me to a dermatologist. On April 1, the dermatologist diagnosed “eczema probably triggered by dry skin” and she gave me stronger steroid cream and a moisturizer, then on April 8 when the rash showed no improvement and was still spreading she took a biopsy (which was later found to be “inconclusive but consistent with eczema or drug rash”) and prescribed a stronger cream and oral Prednisone. I was reluctant to take the Prednisone, especially since the steroid creams were having no effect at all, and the list of side effects for Prednisone was daunting. So I postponed taking the Prednisone, and took some time to consider options, do research and collect suggestions from friends.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) kept coming up as one of the few approaches that has an approach to skin rashes. Apparently, skin rashes result from an imbalance (“too much heat in the blood”) and TCM uses herbs to help rebalance. When I first heard this I was reluctant to put anything new into my system, but the more I read (and itched!) it seemed worth trying. Every home remedy I had found (and there were dozens) made absolutely no difference in the itching, and I was ready to try the herbs. Several TCM doctors and acupuncturists were recommended by friends, but I had had a good experience with Dr. Fan a couple years ago when I had inflamed biceps tendons, and knew he had a very thorough and careful manner and had been an actual doctor in China, trained in both Chinese medicine and western medicine. So I contacted Dr. Fan’s office on April 12 and saw him on April 13. He did indeed have herbs to help and also did acupuncture treatment on me, and within a few days the rash stopped spreading and began to not be so hot and red. We continued the treatments about twice a week and there was gradual improvement every day, although the itching continued for another 5 weeks or so. As of June 1, my skin is back to normal and no longer itching. I am very grateful.