Thursday, June 16, 2011

Id Reaction

The most common search term that brings strangers to my blog is scrapbook pages. Not surprising. The second most common: id reaction. Apparently, there are people across the globe looking for more information about why they are covered in spots. Their search leads them here. 

Years ago, Steve (Husband Extraordinaire) set up as a website for my classroom. Once I stopped teaching, I kept the website in place, but put a few of my scrapbook layouts on a gallery there to use for Design Team applications. Steve eventually took both the website and gallery down, and now this blog is at But if you use Bing to search for information about id reactions, you will see this:

I made that layout in 2008 to document Trevor's experience with an id reaction. I had it in my gallery briefly for one Design Team application. Now, it sends people to this blog, where up until now, there was no mention of id reactions at all.

So, if you are here because you are covered in spots and want more information, welcome! I'd originally intended for "My Creative Life" to cover my adventures in art, crafts, cooking, and other creative ventures, but I suppose any post where I include a scrapbook layout counts. Besides, I really do feel bad that there are people who come here for information about an id reaction and don't get it. So I'll share what I know.

In June 2008, just after he'd turned two, Trevor woke up one morning covered in small red spots. They were slightly raised, but didn't itch or hurt. By the next day, they looked like this:

Amazingly, they didn't bother him at all. He never itched them or complained about them in the slightest. The doctor diagnosed the spots as an id reaction, which is essentially an allergic reaction to a virus or fungus. So basically, Trevor caught a virus which had no symptoms. However, he was allergic to the virus itself, which showed in the form of a skin reaction. Id reactions are not contagious, do no harm, and go away on their own. However, they can look pretty horrifying! My nephew was in the hospital at the time and because of a very strict "No Rashes" policy, I wasn't able to bring Trevor to visit his beloved cousin. It didn't matter that the id reaction wasn't contagious. We had swim lessons during this time period too- I made sure that the others in the lesson and his teacher understood that his id reaction was not contagious!

Fast-forward three years. I started this blog and immediately visitors showed up in search of information about id reactions. I made a mental note to write this blog post. And then.... one morning Trevor woke up covered in spots. Yes, according to the doctor, it's probably another id reaction! This time the spots only lasted about 4 days and were far less severe. They were isolated on his trunk, not affecting his arms, legs or face like last time. I made a mental note to write the blog post sooner rather than later.

Fast-forward 10 days later. I woke up covered in spots. Not as bad as Trevor's when he was two, but worse than his the previous week. The spots were the worst on my trunk, gradually lessening on my arms and legs, with none on my feet, hands, or face. They didn't itch or hurt. The next day they had spread down my arms and legs and were covering my hands and feet. The doctor said that it was almost certainly the same virus (again, absolutely no other symptoms) and the same allergic reaction that Trevor had. While the symptomless virus is obviously contagious, the allergic reaction isn't. It's sheer coincidence that we both were allergic to it. Anyone else who gets the virus will never know they had it. Weird!


  1. So sorry to hear this has come back, and that it got you this time, too. I'm glad it's painless and goes away, but it must be disturbing to wake up with those spots.

  2. Wow... I have actually never heard of this.... glad you are documenting it though! :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. This just answered so many questions. Thank you so much!

  4. "Id reaction" is actually short for "dermatophytid reaction" since most commonly the reaction is in response to a dermatophyte, such as tinea pedis (athlete's foot). There are other potential causes of full-body rashes, ranging from bugs to autoimmune. Thus, without finding a specific cause of the id reaction, it's impossible to diagnose as an id reaction with certainty. If this happens again in the future, it would probably be advisable to ask your primary care provider to refer you to a good dermatologist.

  5. I went to the emergency room when I returned from a European vacation with rashes as severe if not worse than Trevors. From the neck down I was covered with dark red patches everywhere, along with what I'd call a dark red wine colored "rash" around my midsection. Like you say, it didn't itch much at all, but it looked awful. It cleared with prednisone (ugh) but I still suffer day to day every day with dermatitis. I have not had the "id reaction" since. It was very ugly, worse long sleeves, etc. I had to take a 7 hour flight back home from London to the States. No causes given, etc. I mean really? This just "happens"? I was angry. My fear is it will happen again. I'm glad his cleared. It's interesting you have the same thing. My partner has eczema and after he had it a few months, I have dermatitis which is kind of too coincidental. Wish I had more answers for you. Glad Trevor is doing better!

  6. My husband has this right now. Fortunately it hasn't impacted his face so far, but it's all over the rest of his body. It looks terrible, but he says he feels fine.

  7. Omg thank you for this. I am truly sorry that we are united this way but i am exhausted. My grandson has this. To compound matters he also has atopic eczema. This kid is itchy and sore. But what i think pisses me the most a doctor diagnosed this ad scabies(wrong diagnosis). It was an urgent care doctor who explained to me that it was an ID reaction
    We start the steroids tomorrow. Praying this works. Please keep is in prayer.

  8. Can black mold cause this? And anybody live in the state of Tennessee can't get nothing seemed to be brought to some attention I have a rash down one leg headache runny nose and eyes and many other symptoms my daughter she has the same but her rashes now on just her butt any advice

    1. It sounds like you both need to see a doctor and mention black mold exposure. Good luck and best wishes.

  9. BLACK mold can definitely cause this. As can seasonally blooming airbourne fungi and molds. This is usually diagnosed by podiatrists (am one) as it is most common as a reaction to foot fungi. BUT: if you have a bug in your stomach or intestines, ie Candida of any sort, this is the reaction you get. It is really hard to get MDs to believe this is the root cause, the medication is Nystatin, a 50 year old really safe medication, at 2 million units a day for 28 days. So if you have the id reaction, and can not find a cause suspect the above. Interestingly, this is usually confined to 'atopic' individuals, the one in 20 people with a bit more of a vigilent immune system. They rarely get cancer, a French study found. LOL the person above who blames Europe probably ate moldy French cheese and may have had low stomach acid, so the mold was not dealt with in the stomach.