Is the water causing my rash?


November 22, 2016

Marshall attends school, sleeps and works at a tertiary educational institution in Kingston.

He is sure it is the stored water that he bathes with daily which is responsible for the rash which has covered his abdomen, back and limbs for several weeks now.

He has seen other friends with the rash also, but the doctor says it is pityriasis rosea, a disorder where the cause is unknown. Well, Marshall says the cause must be the water!

He asks CheckUp if the stored water couldn't cause rashes on the body.

Chlorine from stored water can sometimes cause rashes on the skin and tap water may contain as much, or more, chlorine in it than the amount used in a swimming pool!

Also, 'hard water', which is water containing many minerals, can eventually lead to skin irritation. A common effect of hard water is dry, scaly skin. To protect your skin from the effects of water:

• Dilute soap products and use less of them.

• Take shorter showers.

• Use store bought water on your face only.

• Use skin moisturiser

But what is pityriasis rosea? Well, the experts are not sure what causes this skin disorder. It could possibly be a virus, but nevertheless, certain facts have been noted.

• It tends to occur between ages 10 and 35.

• It is usually harmless.

• It causes a rash which begins with one round area looking a lot like skin fungus (tinea corporis) called a 'herald patch' but spreads over days and weeks, appearing on the abdomen, chest, back, arms and legs, but very rarely on the face.

• It forms a Christmas tree-like appearance on the back as it follows the skin folds.

• Itching can occur, ranging from mild to severe.

• The rash is self-limiting and usually lasts between six and eight weeks, but can last several months.

• Before the rash appears, feelings of tiredness, headache, nausea, and sore throat can occur

The treatment is all about symptom relief and there are no permanent side effects from this disorder. It will pass completely, eventually!

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