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Summertime and the patient is itchy


  • Specialist Medicine

Document Type

Published Date

  • 2014-11


  • A 21-year-old man presented to the emergency department with a 36 h history of a painful, itchy maculopapular rash and associated vesicles to his arms and neck. He had no history of exposure to new chemicals or hygiene products and no significant medical history. His physiological observations were normal and systemic examination was unremarkable. On close inspection the rash was noted to be present only on areas of skin exposed while wearing a polo shirt. On further questioning it transpired that he had been gardening 12 h prior to the development of the rash. A diagnosis of phytophotodermatitis was made. The patient was discharged with chlorphenamine, simple analgesia and the advice to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt and sunscreen when gardening in future. Phytophotodermatitis is a cutaneous reaction caused by contact with light-sensitising compounds found in plants and exposure to ultraviolet A radiation. It is self-limiting and can be managed symptomatically.
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