Back around New Year's, we were in D.C. if you recall visiting LL's sister and family, I broke out in a rash around my shoulders, chest, upper back and lower on my neck. It was a pimply kind of rash, very odd. Naturally the investigation into what was causing the rash. For Christmas I had received new undershirts and LL washed them and used softener, which I normally do not use. All of our laundry products are unscented and dye-less, so it shouldn't have mattered, but it was very much an example of Occam's Razor. However, re-washing the shirts and changing to other shirts didn't change the rash. It was a bit better in the morning and much worse at night. It didn't itch.
Could it be bedbugs? Could my inlaws have bedbugs? Naw, they are pretty meticulous and why would they only bite me from my navel to my neck? Plus they were pimples, not bites.
Two possibilities down. They have dogs, could that be it? I am indeed allergic to dogs, so possibly that was the answer. I settled on blaming the dogs.
Due to the weather, we only had three days at home before I headed out to Arizona for a softball tournament. The rash didn't get better, but guess what? The family I was staying with ALSO had dogs. Clearly it was the dogs at this point.
That was two weeks ago. Upon my return, my rash was not getting better. If anything, it was getting slightly worse. To the internet!!!
What could have been the problem? Here's the thing: while at my inlaws over New Years, we drink a bit. And we don't just drink beer or wine. No, we drink caipirinhas. If you haven't had them, they are made with Brazilian rum called cachaca (pronounced ca-shaza) which tastes like gasoline, an entire lime and about a half a cup of sugar, yeah, it's that bad. However, after you mix in the sugar and lime, it's awesome (but what wouldn't be). So last year in an effort to reduce my caloric intake, I started using Splenda instead of sugar. Seemed like eight packets would do the trick. Cool!
So this year I did the same thing. Three or four days of drinking those added up to quite a bit of alcohol....and Splenda. I also use Splenda in my coffee, three packs, three times a day. So all totaled, I was consuming roughly 40 packs of Splenda a day while on vacation. When back home though, I was only having coffee, 9 packs a day or less. However, we make our decaf ice tea with Splenda as well (about a half of cup per pitcher), so who knows how many more packets I was getting by drinking two to three glasses of ice tea a day.
But could Splenda be the culprit? I mean, prior to D.C., I had coffee and ice tea in comparable amounts to what I was having post vacation. The internet told me that Splenda gets washed with chlorine and there is some residual in the product. Normally harmless I'm sure, unless you have 40 packets a day. Apparently the body tries to expunge the chlorine through the rash. So I've cut out Splenda for the last few days and the rash is going away. Fascinating stuff.