Here she is with said suspicious bumps the morning of her birthday party. Look closely on her forearm.
As it turned out, we still had to take Bailey to the doctor that day because she was running a high fever. So we toted Reagan along and the doctor said once again no big deal it is some generic reaction to something, put some cortisone cream on it and call it a day. She gave Reagan a note that said, "Reagan can attend school on Monday." and told Reagan, "you hand them this note and tell them to leave you alone." I thought that was the end of the story.
Monday comes, Reagan still has the rash and we hand the school the note. They were not happy in the least. They said, "It doesn't say what she has, or how to treat her, or if she is contagious." Bill said she isn't contagious, the doctor wouldn't be irresponsible and let her back if she was. And we aren't asking you to treat her. So the giant bandage goes back on her arm and the school tells Bill we must have a note from the doctor saying she isn't contagious and must explain what she has. After exchanging a few words with the executive director Bill leaves in a huff and relays the message. I remind Bill that it doesn't matter what she has, it is none of their business as long as we aren't asking them to treat her or she is not contagious. That is a HIPAA law and doctors aren't allowed to say what a patient has on a note. The school was asking for something illegal.
So Bill rehearses what he is going to say to the school with me and every time he tries again he ends with, "and if you don't like it we'll get a lawyer and sue your arse." After a few goes at that, I suggest that is probably not the tone we want to use and why don't I talk to them. I give the school a call and try to reason with them, and after a 20 minute conversation she agrees that if we have the words "NOT CONTAGIOUS" in a note, Reagan stays and the conversation is over. So I call my doctor and explain that apparently the school thinks you might be irresponsible and allow Reagan to go back to school so that she can infect 200 kids with some mysterious rash. Can I please get a note saying she is NOT CONTAGIOUS so we can end this? My offended doctor begrudgingly agrees and faxes it over. I call the school, they are satisfied enough that Reagan can stay and we can stop fighting about this. Which is good because by this point it was Tuesday and we had been fighting about it for three days. I thought that was the end of the story.
So Tuesday evening Reagan comes home. This is just hours after the school gets their note and they are finally content that she isn't contagious. I took off her stupid bandage and inspect the rash. I'll be darned if the stupid thing wasn't looking exactly like RINGWORM! Oh, crap! That's CONTAGIOUS! Sadly, my first reaction wasn't "oh no, my baby has ringworm!" My first reaction was, "I wonder if allrecipes.com has a good recipe for eating crow. How on earth am I going to spin this with the school?"
Here is Reagan's rash the day we discovered it was Ringworm. This was actually taken by Bill on Reagan's camera.
It has been several weeks now and I sent Reagan in long sleeves to daycare all that time. She still has a very faint marking of it but we are still putting medicine on it and it should be gone soon. Good thing because the water park at her school just opened.
I learned some things out of this:
There are only two things that cause a circular rash: ringworm or Lyme disease. If you don't see a site of a tick bite, it is probably ringworm. Reagan's was very atypical in that is was small little spots in a vague circular pattern. That is what threw the doctor off. It generally looks like a big dark circle with white or clear patches in the center. As time went on, that is what Reagan's rash started to look like. If I had put medicine on it when it was just the dots, it probably wouldn't have gotten that far. If I ever again see anything remotely like a vague circular rash, the Lotrimin is coming out. I figure it can't hurt.
A little more information should you need to know:
- Ringworm isn't worms, it's a fungus like athlete's foot.
- Never cover ringworm with a bandage. It needs to stay dry. It will get bigger if it is moist. (darned school)
- Good old Lotrimin AF, over the counter athlete's foot medicine, is all you need to put on it twice a day
- Keep putting the medicine on at least one week after you no longer feel a raised rash or it might come back
- You can get ringworm from other people or pets (pets are huge carriers). We don't know where Reagan got it since it hadn't been at her daycare, we suspect from her swimming lessons that she started just a few days before.
- As long as you keep medicating it, it shouldn't leave that white ring scar that I remember kids having when I was growing up.
- It shouldn't be contagious 24 hours after treatment begins. But as a precaution if possible I'd recommend covering the area with loose clothing if there is a possibility of direct contact with others.
- If you don't treat it, it will spread to other areas of the body. The upper arm is the most typical place but it could actually appear anywhere.
So in the famous words of Paul Harvey, "...and now you know the rest of the story. Good day."