California’s raging brush fires may have led to an outbreak of bizarre rashes effecting residents in the northern part of the state.
As several fires broke out last weekend during a brutal heat wave, residents of Rancho Cordova, near San Francisco, reported itchy skin rashes plaguing the community.
‘My skin was getting tight and swollen and I was constantly itching my neck,’ Jenni Matamoros said, uploading photos of her blotchy pink rash that stretched from her forehead to chest on Facebook.
Her post led to an outpour of similar messages from people in the area saying they too were suffering unexplained allergic reactions and its source remained a mystery.
Residents of Rancho Cordova have reported an outbreak of unexplained rashes that appeared last weekend as several fires broke out in the area, Jenni Matamoros shows her rash stretching from her face to neck above
Matamoros (above) posted her rash on Facebook where she received several similar messages from nearby residents also reporting sudden and unexplained allergic reactions last weekend
Resident Tamara Steinhoff (above) said she went outside for a walk and returned itching with her throat closing and her tongue swelling up
Steinhoff shared these images to social media showing the rash inflamed on her face
‘I just kept itching my chest and I felt really hot. Nothing had been different, so I started asking could it be something in the air with the fires or this weird smell in the area, that’s when I did the post,’ she said to CBS, recounting the evening she was watching a movie with her husband with the windows open when she started to itch.
‘I said it can’t be something I ate because I hadn’t eaten in hours. So I wondered if anyone else in the area was feeling the same thing, or having these same reactions, and that’s when I was completely overwhelmed,’ she added.
Local Tamara Steinhoff said she went for a walk on Friday and returned home with the rash spreading across her body, her tongue swelling, and throat closing.
‘I was burning itching scratching, blisters all over my face, my neck,’ Steinhoff said sharing photos of her reddened face.
Another local named Rozaliya Slivinska shared images of red blisters and large bumps along her arms and elbow.
Another woman named Rozaliya Slivinska (far right) shared her rash that spread on her arm and formed bumps on her elbow
The women believe that the cause may be poison oak that may have been burnt in the wild fires that broke out over the weekend, a fire in Guinda, California pictured above
Fires broke out throughout the California region as a heatwave swept the state, a fire in Clearlake Oaks on July 1 pictured above
Some speculate that burnt poison oak could be behind the flare ups.
‘Poison oak can travel through the air, the allergins are so strong that they can create an allergic response, but everyone has a different sensitivity,’ Dermatologist Dr. Emmanuel Maverakis said, adding that reactions can occur 24 to 48 hours after exposure.
‘I don’t think it’s going to cause a widespread eruption with many patients but absolutely if someone is close to the fire if someone is in contact with poison oak it’s absolutely a possibility,’ he added.
However the Sacramento Metro Fire Department says its crew members battling the fires haven’t been affected.
‘None of our firefighters are experiencing the symptoms that these neighbors have felt,’ Chris Vestal said.
However to treat the red rashes, Steinhoff said she was prescribed medication and Cortizone cream, which also treats poison oak.
‘I thought I was the only one, and I was kind of glad to see there were other people, so we can see what it was, so it’s not just a fluke,’ Steinhoff added.
Over the past week wild fires have raged in Northern California, with Klamathon Fire being one of the biggest fires spreading 36,500 acres that shut town roads last weekend and blazed through Tuesday.
Several other fires broke out in Wine Country in Northern California and in San Jose spreading for 100 acres but was contained Tuesday,
Overall nearly 3,000 fires have burned through California since the start of the year, destroying 231,000 acres in its wake according to the San Francisco Chronicle.