Unilateral laterothoracic exanthem and Oral Prednisone

Unilateral what?  Yes – I had the same thought.  You might be able to guess from this title that we’ve been having all sorts of interesting things going on at our house.  It has been rough month with very little sleep, which is one of the many reasons for my lack of blog entries this last month.

About four weeks ago Colin developed a rash on his arm that in a few days became a scarier rash on his arm, armpit, continued on the top of his leg and the bottom of his feet were covered in red dots.   He had a slightly different looking rash develop across his torso.  His arm seemed to itch a little but his feet drove him crazy.  Absolutely miserable.  He would itch all day and night.  For a week he was waking every 40 minutes or so all night long, itching and crying.  We were at the doctor’s office three times but they weren’t sure what it was.  They said his arm looked like eczema, the trunk of his body looked like strep rash and his feet looked like poison ivy.  He’d never had his shoes off outside and no one else in the family had poison ivy so we were stumped.  The strep test came back negative.  We went home with some creams but no amount of hydrocortisone and moisturizing cream helped.  He itched and cried day and night and kept showing us his “boo boos.”  He screamed when he put the cream they prescribed on his feet and his feet began blistering.  They had us put away his new shoes in case they were the culprit but it got worse despite the shoe exile.  After 10 days of this I was losing it.

Colin wasn’t sleeping day or night and I was exhausted.  The rash was getting worse and so doctor finally put him on oral prednisone to help with the symptoms.  If you’ve ever had a child who is on oral prednisone you can probably guess what I’m going to talk about next: THE TASTE.  Oh my goodness.  How could they expect kids to take this?  Yes, it is flavored, heavily.  (I tasted it after Colin started refusing it).  The initial taste is grape and pretty good, but then about ten seconds after it has been swallowed an aftertaste emerges that is terrible, bitter and gag inducing.  Colin was trying to remain calm after swallowing the medicine but kept gagging until he lost it- and up came the whole dose.   The next few days we tried mixing it in peanut butter, giving him drinks of juice immediately after the dose and I finally resorted to giving him Annie’s fruit snacks, popping a little piece in right after the dose.  Thankfully, that worked. The trick was to beat the aftertaste with something very flavorful.  He’s now addicted to fruit snacks but at least we found a way to keep the medicine in him.

Did the prednisone help?  Well, things slowly started to get better and he stopped crying all night long about his feet, but it wasn’t a magic bullet for whatever is going on.  Colin is more comfortable now but the rash continues to move around, always concentrating on one side of his body.  The doctor thinks it is unilateral laterothoracic exanthem.  A fancy sounding name for a rash on one side of the body, caused by a virus.  So it may take some time for this to go away.  I can’t find a lot about it (I should know by now Colin will never be textbook anything) but from the articles I have read it seems to affect kids between the ages of 1 and 5 and often in the winter or spring.  Treatment is for the symptoms and it is often misdiagnosed as contact dermatitis.  I haven’t found anything about blistering feet though in anything I’ve come across.  Colin’s feet are now peeling but much less painful.  Jury is still out on that one.

I was really worried the rash was caused by milk exposure but I’m leaning toward the virus rash explanation as time goes on.  Yes, we had a milk-via-mom experiment right before all of this began.  I had some delicious delicious milk products and went a little nuts  but that will be my next post.  Still trying to catch up on some sleep.

I know this was kind of a strange post for my blog. I don’t usually go this in-depth about non-food related things but I really wanted to put this information out there.  Both the rash and figuring out how to get Colin to take the awful tasting prednisone really stumped us,  I  wanted to share this in case some other frustrated exhausted parent is Googling on their phone at 4am while holding their itchy child and looking for help.  I’ve been where you are!


10 responses

  1. Very sad to hear this. Is it cured finally? My son is having a similar condition and doctors are not able to help much. Please let me know, how did it finally disappear or what is the best treatment. How many days did it last?

    • Yes, thank you, my little guy got over this rash. I think it took us a good 6 weeks to really get it out of his system. I’ve read 4-6 weeks is typical. We didn’t feel anything they gave us really helped the rash at all. We gave him pain medicine, Tylenol or motrin, to help him be more comfortable during the worst night but creams never helped calm his itching. The prednisone might have helped, but it was hard to say if it is was that medicine or just the virus slowly getting better. I’m so sorry to hear your son has it. I hope he feels better soon. From everything I’ve read, time is the best treatment so hang in there.

  2. This post is a few years old and there is a chance that you might not even see this comment ever, but I am taking a chance to personally thank you for sharing your story! Because of you and your blog post we were able to correctly identify the rash that our little girl has. Out of the three doctors in our pediatrician’s office, only one was able to say that he has seen it before or even know what it was. I searched all kinds of rashes on the web and am not easily convinced by the things I read or see on the web, but my daughter could relate so much to your child that I had to take a chance and ask her doctor. If it weren’t for your post, I wouldn’t have even known to look for this viral infection or ask about it. Now I can help others whom may fall in our same situation. So once again THANK YOU so much😏

    • I am so glad it helped you. It is totally crazy right? That is the whole reason I post, so thank you so much for your comments ! Hope your little girl feels better soon !

    • So my son is 3 years old and for the past month he’s been having this “rash” on his left side of the body, so what is the name of this virus causing it? It started on his stomach and thigh, I went to his doctor after 2 weeks of it and got prescribed a cream to apply morning and night time and it seemed to help a little but now it’s spreading to his arm, his hands and palms are clear for now. I’m scheduling another visit to the pediatrician tomorrow but was just wondering what the diagnosis was for your children!

      • They stuck with laterothoracic exanthema. I do believe there were multiple things going on in his little body. It took time, but it did go away so it may have just been viral

  3. Thank you for posting! Our son has a rash on only one side of his body as well. I’m sure there are plenty of other readers that do not leave a comment. Just thought I would say thank you for sharing. Your post has been helpful:)

  4. My 1 year old granddaughter was just diagnosed with this today. They gave some cream for the itch and said it can last up to ten weeks. Poor baby itches and does not want to go near a bathtub.

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