Mistaken itching caused by ants for shingles

Ho Chi Minh CityMs. Thanh, 32 years old, living in Thu Duc city, itchy red skin in the neck area, thought she had shingles, gave topical medication and drank it, but the condition did not improve but progressed badly, blistering skin with burning pain.

“I suspect dermatitis caused by three-cavity ants because this residential area is full of ants, but due to the epidemic, I couldn’t go to the doctor, so I went to a pharmacy to buy it temporarily,” Ms. Thanh recalled when connecting online with a doctor. Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dermatology, September 24.

Doctor Vo Thi Doan Phuong (Head of Clinical Department 1, Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dermatology) said that through online examination during social distancing, doctors met many patients with contact dermatitis caused by three compartment ants. but applied the drug Acyclovir because it was misdiagnosed as shingles as above. This wrong treatment makes the disease worse, even becoming superinfected contact dermatitis.

According to Dr. Phuong, contact dermatitis caused by ants and shingles are two completely different diseases. Misdiagnosis, wrong drug use will affect the treatment process, can make the disease worse and the recovery process longer.

“Treatment of contact dermatitis caused by ants is not difficult, but if it is not done correctly, it can cause more severe inflammation, secondary bacterial infections and ulcers,” said Dr. Phuong.

Patients with contact dermatitis caused by ants were diagnosed by pharmacy staff as shingles, making the disease worse. Photo: Lan Anh.

According to Dr. Phuong, contact dermatitis caused by ants usually manifests as erythematous lesions, slightly edematous, vesicles, pustules, often in open skin areas such as the face, neck, hands and feet. Lesions that follow streaks, lines, or symmetrical lesions may be found in folds such as the armpits, groin, elbow creases, or popsicles. When the patient scratches, it is easy to spread to other locations.

Meanwhile, shingles is a viral disease that affects the skin and nerves. The initial manifestation is maculopapular, erythematous papules, then appear vesicles growing in clusters containing clear, stretchy fluid, usually located on one side of the body, along the path of the nerve. Patients may have fever, headache, body fatigue, aches and pains…

Doctor Le Thi Thuy Trang, General Planning Department, Ho Chi Minh City Dermatology Hospital, currently working at the Covid-19 field hospital No. 12, said during the medical examination and monitoring F0 at F0 at the hospital. In the field hospital, she also encountered many cases of contact dermatitis caused by three compartment ants.

“Fortunately, the field hospital is managed by doctors of the Dermatology Hospital, so patients are promptly consulted and treated with topical medications. These drugs are supported by the hospital and patients are treated free of charge. fee,” shared Doctor Trang.

Recently, in about 100 medical consultation calls via the online channel of the Ho Chi Minh City Dermatology Hospital every day, there are about 20 cases related to contact dermatitis caused by three-cavity ants.

The doctor noted, when having contact dermatitis caused by ants, it is necessary to limit the use of soap on this skin area, avoid exposure to light because it will cause more severe contact dermatitis. Do not touch or scratch this area because if you do not wash your hands, it will spread toxins to other skin areas.

According to Dr. Phuong, if properly treated, the injury will heal quickly, leaving no sequelae such as bad scars. If not treated properly, it can lead to infection, bad scarring and in the case of severe contact dermatitis, sores…

Doctors recommend that people should not self-medicate, but need to go to reputable dermatology hospitals for treatment. In case people cannot go to the hospital for examination, people can contact the hospital’s free consultation line to support the epidemic season by phone number 0908051200, from Monday to Friday every week, at 8-11 am and 13-16 o’clock.

Le Phuong