Stress, Quarantine, and Your Skin

posted in: Skincare tips

One of the latest developments in the fight against coronavirus has been the lingering effects of COVID19 on the skin. Up to 20% of people recovering from coronavirus report some kind of skin problem, rash or hives, with different appearances, and as with many facets of this disease – still mysterious.

That reminded me of a dermatology appointment I had years ago, right after the worst of my skin allergy flare-ups. The waiting period to see a dermatologist in Massachusetts at the time was 9 months, so I had to wait to see a doctor and every day deal with a mysterious appearance of hives or rash, mainly on my hands and feet. They would show up as big welts, or “urticaria” – angry, itchy hives that might get redder with triggers like heat, exercise, or sweat. I would often walk to work in the morning about a mile, and then spend the next hour in front a fan drinking iced tea at my desk, trying cool down the hives so they would be less insanely itchy and red.

Anti-histamines helped, but then again, not really. I didn’t have a day of relief for nearly a year.

When the day of the appointment arrived, the hives were a rare occurrence at that point. (it’s always the case – by the time you get to a doctor, you feel better). Once we had talked through all the possible triggers, this doctor was the only one to ask if I had the flu or some kind of illness before the hives. I definitely had, but there was a gap of a month or so – and I didn’t make the connection. She said it was common in young and healthy people to get these kinds of hives or rashes after a viral illness, as our immune systems were still hyper-alert, and overreact to allergens.

If you are experiencing these kinds of rashes or itch – I feel for you, and sorry that any one would have to go through that. For me, the only things that helped were cetaphil lotion, spray-on benadryl, staying out of the sun, having a very minimal skincare routine, perfume-free everything (even laundry detergent), keeping my body temperature cool, and….time. It will pass, and hopefully as painlessly as possible.

Wishing everyone the best of health now.

xoxo Joanna