I live in Arizona. A ridiculously dry climate. Most of the state is desert and humidity is a scarce commodity.
I have had some dry skin issues in the last few years. Dry patches on my legs, arms, occasionally my head and face. I learned over the weekend that I've been handling them all wrong.
The only time I've been to the doctor regarding the dry skin patches was about five years ago. She gave me some steroid cream and an antibiotic and told me to use Cetaphil lotion and soap and unscented laundry detergent. I've been doing that ever since.
Starting about Wednesday of last week I had a breakout on my back and chest and simultaneously got a red blotchy scalp. I just figured it was an allergic reaction to something environmental but it didn't correct itself and I ended up going to Urgent Care on Saturday afternoon at the urging of Anth (he can sometimes be the voice of reason when I'm too stupid to be reasonable).
Urgent Care is an adventure all by itself. Anth offered to go with me and I declined saying that I didn't think it was necessary for him to sit in the waiting room for a couple of hours in the middle of a small population of sick people. I went to the Northwest Urgent Care at Ina & Shannon in northwest Tucson and sat for just over an hour in the midst of coughing, wheezing, puking, grumpy, pain filled people. The patient population ranged from a little guy who I would have bet a dollar had swine flu to two elderly ladies on oxygen who had a heated discussion about Gilbert Arenas pulling a gun on his Washington Wizards teammate. There was the older lady who couldn't sit down because something around the vicinity of her ass was causing her great pain to the woman who described very loudly how she had a slipped disc and then went snowboarding on New Year's Day and aggravated the injury. The experience was as icky as I thought it would be and I was glad I didn't drag Anth along to have to sit through it too.
I was finally seen by a doctor and she took one 15 second look at me and said, "You have winter itch." My first thought was that something that has a term like that has crotch area implications but it turned out its severe dry skin. And the blotchiness and breakout are a secondary infection as a result. She asked what soap I use. When I told her Cetaphil she said, "Oh, that's waaay too strong for your skin. That's really only useful for bacterial issues." She suggested Dove Unscented (which doesn't bother me because that's about half the price of Cetaphil) and Jergens or Lubraderm lotion. Plus, I'm supposed to stop taking hot showers and make them as short as possible. And lotion myself up good after every shower. She also prescribed an antibiotic for the secondary skin infection and sent me on my way.
I was glad it wasn't anything particularly serious. Unfortunately, I had started exhibiting symptoms of the sniffles earlier in the day before I went and it has turned into a full blown head cold. So, I now have itchy blotchy red skin and red bumps on my back and chest and a head cold. If you looked up misery in the dictionary right now my picture would be there. But, things should be better in a few days. Or my name isn't Snottynose McBlotchyskinerson.