My Worst Weekend….EVER

I woke up on Friday with a slight rash on my arms and the tops of my hands. It wasn’t itchy, but it accompanied a sore throat and got me to worrying. I went to the doctor (my 4th visit in one month) to find out what’s wrong. My doctor wasn’t available and the person covering him suspected it was strep and put me on azithromycin.

That night, I wasn’t up to going out so MIke came over and we watched 3 movies: Before Sunrise (loved it), Sid & Nancy (saw it before…still enjoyed it) and 54 (saw it before…still a disappiontment).

Saturday morning, I woke up and noticed that the rash had spread to my chest and upper thighs. I went back to bed and woke up again around 2PM (very rare for me). Concerned, I figured I’d better get it checked out before it spread any more.

I went to the emergency room at Mass General (with magazines, books, water and food) expecting to be stuck in a waiting room for hours on end. However, the minute I walked in, a nurse asked me to sign in with her. She took one look at my arms, asked basic questions (name, etc..) then went on the intercom and said “Trauma”. Within seconds, a wheelchair showed up and I was rolled into a private room in the emergency room.

Just as quickly, I was surrounded by 4 nurses and 3 doctors. I had 12 vials of blood drawn, I was shaved (in spots on my chest) and had electrodes stuck to my chest, sides and legs. There were concerns that I had measles and that I was highly contagious.

I wasn’t itchy or in any pain (which perplexed the staff). I still had an appetite and was starving the whole time (which dismissed the measles thoughts). What did concern them (aside from the red marks) was that my hear rate was beating more than TWICE what is considered normal or healthy. And I was like that for 8 hours.

Yes, you heard it….8 hours.

Fortunately, Mike (such a sweetie) came by around 9:15PM and said he’d stay with me until I was dismissed. I was supposed to be dismissed after the second IV bag emptied, but they were concerned with my heart rate. At close to 2AM a doctor came in and said that I might have a blood clot or pulmonary ambulism (I think that’s the word). I was sent away for chest xrays and a CAT scan.

They came back OK – but they still didn’t want to release me.

Long story short, I was released on Sunday after they concluded I wasn’t contagious and that it was just a viral xantham caused by the sinus congestion/infection not getting cleared out. Now my body was fighting it off and this was the result. They suspect it should go away on it’s own and said not to go to work until it does.

I can’t imagine going to work like this. The red dots/bumps are now covering my entire body except my face and genitals. It hurts to walk because they’re on my feet. It hurts to open bottles and eat food because it’s on my fingers and hands. It hurts to sit because it’s on my ass. It hurts to sleep because it’s on my back and legs. I’m completely miserable now. Here are some sexy pictures to give you an idea:

rash 01 rash 2

 rash 03 060604.jpgrash 04 060604.jpg

 rash 05 060604.jpg



  1. Comment by karyn on June 5, 2006 1:31 pm

    SECOND OPINION PLEASE. This is bullshit – that is a scary ass rash, love. I feel for you.

  2. Comment by Ed on June 5, 2006 1:50 pm

    Holy cow Karl. I’ve never seen a rash like that one.. I second what Karen said get a second opinion, ouch…Hope you feel better.

  3. Comment by Brad on June 5, 2006 2:15 pm

    JUST GET BETTER! . . . sending get well thoughts your way! Let me know if you need anything more.

  4. Comment by Mark on June 5, 2006 3:40 pm

    Oh poodle, I’m so, so sorry. I hope you get better soon!

  5. Comment by Dave in Chicago (2) on June 5, 2006 4:30 pm

    Bubbie! Had shingles myself….eccch.

  6. Comment by Sara on June 5, 2006 5:15 pm

    oh how horrible!! I wonder if maybe it might be some sort of reaction to the antibiotic?? oops, didn’t quite read the whole thing where you had the rash before..oh dear. I certainly hope things get better soon!

  7. Comment by Fred on June 5, 2006 6:30 pm

    YIKES! You poor guy – I had mystery-hives once in college (I think brought on by stress over a fellowship interview, which then went badly), but this is crazy…. I hope things are subsiding/getting better already!


  8. Comment by J.P. on June 5, 2006 6:34 pm

    Wow! I don’t think I’ve seen a rash quite like that before. I concur with the others, you may want a second opinion on that one. I hope you feel better soon!

  9. Comment by chrispy on June 5, 2006 7:13 pm

    duuuuuuuude, i *totally* feel your pain! thats EXACTLY the same rash i had after i took azithromycin too for the cough i had after coming back from paris…..unfortunatley, its nearly a month later and i still have it, just in spots rather than allover now- im warning you the rash may come back after exposure to the sun or even just heat, or even sweating a little bit. the good news is the rash does dissipate, i went to a dermatologist to see what it could have been and got a shot of “kenalog” and some cream to put on the rash, which made most of it disappear in 4 days. thats the good news.

  10. Comment by Chris on June 5, 2006 8:31 pm

    Well, I think you got enough well wishes in the comments already (not that I don’t also send them), so I’ll go with the snarky:

    After reading your description, and seeing there were pictures, I feel horribly let down that you didn’t include one of the notably rash-free genitals.

  11. Comment by Suldog on June 6, 2006 9:24 am

    Wow. Seriously bad rash there, bro.

    If you’re laid up with little else to do, you might read my rash story, which you can find at

  12. Comment by Salina on June 6, 2006 2:12 pm

    Karl – I am so sorry that you’re so sick! Please let me know if there is anything i can do for you! I’m around and available during the day so if there’s anything you need, just give a call! I hope you feel better soon!


  13. Comment by Veselka Slut on June 6, 2006 3:01 pm

    I was worried you had the measles or whatever is going around now – I’m glad you’re not contagious but disappointed that you’re miserable.

    It could be worse, face and genitals are probably the two areas that you want safe the most.

  14. Comment by Erica on June 6, 2006 3:17 pm

    yuck yuck yuck!! I am so glad you don’t have measles though, cos that sounds even suckier.
    I hope it all goes away super super fast.

  15. Comment by Mark on June 6, 2006 5:46 pm

    This may sound like a dumb question, but it is possible that you a severe case of scarlet fever, which can accompany strep infections? I look at the boy in this photo and then at your rash and they look awfully alike. Did they mention this ailment to you?

  16. Comment by Mike on June 6, 2006 10:03 pm

    Bwah hah! I read this site, and yes, it’s probably me. My job makes me a 6′-tall petrie dish. I try to make it up to you by spending time with you, but, of course, it’s like getting bloodwork from Dracula. You deserve the best, and maybe this battery of diseases I’m giving you will toughen your immune system so you’ll live to be 110. xo

  17. Comment by Will on June 7, 2006 7:26 am

    Karl, this must be awful for you. It looks bad and sounds bad. Best wishes for as speedy a recovery as possible.

  18. Comment by Golden on June 7, 2006 8:41 am

    Yikes! Are you sure it isn’t an allergic reaction to the antibiotics you recently took? I don’t remember the timing, but it looks suspicious.
    I hope you feel better soon!

  19. Comment by JC on June 7, 2006 10:45 am

    Yikes! Oh, Karl, that looks awful. I really hope you get better soon. Although, in your infirmity might be a good time to whup your red, bumpy ass at rummy. Get better darling!

  20. Comment by Rob on June 13, 2006 10:38 am

    Wow! Sorry I’m being so late.. but hopefully you’re all better by now!! That’s some major rash alright. I’ve never seen anything like it. Okay, now I’m gonna read on to see if you’d gotten better! ciao!

  21. Comment by Eric on November 2, 2006 10:43 am

    Wow…I have the same rash…I went online to look up info on rashes and was amazed to see how similar yours is to mine. How are you doing now. I went on steroids to calm the condition…healing time is taking long.

  22. Comment by Sally on November 21, 2006 12:49 pm

    My son has the same rash. He was tested for measles, strep, fungus, white cell count. It appears it is viral. It has been three weeks. Tried Prednisone, it did get better but after a week it was still there. Now on Zyrtec and creme Dermatop and I hope it goes away soon.

  23. Comment by sue on April 5, 2007 2:59 pm

    I had a rash… It was called Pityriasis Rosea.. It last about 6 weeks and it’s intchy as hell..
    It is most common in children and young adults, and usually occurs in spring and fall. If you get this skin condition, you may feel like you have a cold at first. Then, a single scaly red spot may appear on your back or stomach. This is called a “herald patch.” Smaller spots will develop on your body days to weeks later. These spots may itch badly. If the rash is on your back, it may have the shape of a Christmas tree. The cause of pityriasis rosea is uncertain. Some doctors believe that pityriasis rosea is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Certain medicines also can cause this rash. Pityriasis rosea is not contagious, so people with this rash do not have to be kept away from other people.

  24. Comment by Kim on May 1, 2007 12:33 am

    Did you ever find out what the rash was? I am trying to figure out what my 9 year old daughter has… looks alot like yours but appeared today and has covered all the way around her thighs and is going further down her legs now… not on torso yet. Had high fever 104.5 three days ago… then started antibiotic that day. I figured if it was antibiotic… it would have appeared before now. Did you ever learn what yours was? Concerned mom

  25. Comment by Ingeborg on May 22, 2007 12:28 am

    Hey, I hope you are feeling better now. Your rash pictures called my attention. It looks just like one I have been dealing with for 3 and a half years, weird….it comes and goes…feels terrible by the way itches a lot and spreads all over so fast… It seemed to get better by putting on Vaseline, the original formula…if you have the chance would be good to know if you find out what was it, what causes it…well take care. Another rash victim.

  26. Comment by Dan on June 19, 2007 1:19 am

    OH my. The way i found this was because im looking for the rash i have and bingo i found it. At first i thought it was Miliaria(Prickly Heat) but im not so sure. I have it everywhere on me now too except as you said on my genitals and my face. Its been two days and i was hoping it would go away on its own but im going to the dermatologist tomorrow. I feel your pain… Literally!

  27. Comment by Lydia on February 5, 2008 9:45 pm

    I had this about 3 months ago it took me a while to figure out what it was. i also had a very bad sore throat and i couldnt really eat or swallow anything and i started itching on my ears. when first went to the doctors the doctor asked me if i have been using any new products and i just started using this shampoo and the doctor told me to stop using it and see if it stops and i got this shot (i dont remember what it was) but it was to prevent the the small rash from getting worse. Next morning i wake up with it more on my body. Next morning even more on my body! and it itched more and looked even more worse. so the doctor prescribed antihistamine and other meds and after about a week of sitting in the house cant do anything cant touch anything and i dont want people looking at me but it did stop by my private areas and stopped at my face also. then i went and checked in on the doctor one more time and noticed my skin started peeling and flaking. and she said i had Scarlet Fever, iv never heard of it before but i guess it not very common for people to get it now a days but wayyyy back in the day but only the children would usually catch it and very rare for adults to and i am 15 and my doctor thought it was rare for my age. it was the worst whole week i had. but the week after that when i started to “shed” i guess i was suppose to apply lotion and moisturize my skin and i never did and for a week i felt like a snake shedding and getting a new layer of skin. A lot on my upper body i would flake like frosted flakes it u touched me you would get white flakes all over you but on my thighs i would get bored and start peeling the skin off, i measured one of the pieaces of skin i peeled and it was the size on a cd without ripping it into two. i was really fascinated and i kept on doing it haha. then one day that week i was just playing with my nails and i noticed right under the skin where the end of the nail will start i started to slowly peel down the skin it was a lot thicker layer compared to my dead skin from the body. It felt like i was peeling a banana on all ten of my fingers and the rest of my hands started peeling.
    But now i am better with my fresh coat of skin. but the doctor told me if i ever get a sore throat like i had before i got that rash to go in and tell them and they can perscribe something before the rash begins.

  28. Comment by William on September 28, 2008 6:07 pm

    I got a rash like this and as soon as I got it I took a hot shower and covered my body with gold bond when I woke up it was gone. Then a few weeks later I was eating shrimp and started getting them again turns out I was developing the allergy.

  29. Comment by Nick on December 20, 2008 9:48 pm

    I know this is an old posting.

    I came down with mono, didn’t have strep at the time. About a week later I came down with strep throat, so they put me on Amoxycillin.

    Four days after i started up on that, my body was covered in a VERY similar rash to yours my friend. Itchy like you wouldn’t beleive. I went into the doctors again, they told me to stop taking amoxycillin because it doesn’t mix well with mononucleoisis. They told me to take over the counter benedryl and calamine lotion to clear it up as it’s a regular allergic style reaction.

    The next day i woke up, had a dry dry dry mouth and went to grab a glass of water, i got very light headed so i took a seat. Ended up breaking into a cold ssweat and passing out on the kitchen table, being too weak to even lift my head off to grab a drink (upon waking up).

    Went down the emergency, the doctors said i was dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids and that my rash was caused by an antibiotic that i shouldn’t have been on. They gave me a vaseline style cream with cortizol (anti-histamine fighting steroid) menthol and euclyptous to make it cooling and soothing. And that combination made it bearable for me to survive until my rash goes away. Should be gone in 2 days!!!

  30. Comment by Nathan on February 5, 2009 2:33 am

    Check me in as another person with this lovely rash. I was told it’s a side effect if strep throat which I had a month ago. I still have the rash, it seems to be getting better but it’s also spreading to other parts (started on my arms slowly spread to my legs and chest not on my back…..yet)

    Hot showers and exercise seem to make it worse or brighter anyway …..

  31. Comment by katie on March 26, 2009 4:29 am

    I know this is so old, but I woke up this morning with the SAME stinkin rash. I went to the ER too, and it’s a strep rash. I didn’t have a sore throat, but since I am around Kindergarteners all day somehow I got it. Not fun!

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