Spartan Mud Run with a Dash of an Itchy, Red Rash

By Caileen  |  Wednesday, September 3, 2014  |  , , , , ,  |  Leave comment

Mysterious Rash Plagues SpartansSpartan Rash - run causes mystery rash

Dear Readers:

On a recent web search to see what's happening in the land of poison ivy, oak, and sumac I stumbled upon an article[1] about "mysterious rashes" Spartan race participants experienced after an event on July 20th in Marseilles, IL. Initially dozens, and now reportedly hundreds, are suffering from a rash that surfaced post-run.

Spartan Races (race-to-win) and Mud Runs (race-to-finish), for those who aren't familiar, are obstacle course races typically held outdoors in muddy settings. The courses bolster mud pits, swampy swims, and runs through wooded areas. These races have gained momentum over the past couple of years, boast events throughout the U.S., and have even made the international leap!

Runners that competed in the Marseilles race describe a blistering, red, itchy rash that has appeared in patches, and spread across their bodies, lasting 2 weeks or longer. Race Officials have been investigating the cause of the "Spartan Rash," and say it could possibly be: poison ivy, swimmer's itch, or chiggers.

Although we will not speculate, nor can we confirm what type of rash these racers are experiencing, we can tell you what we know about poison ivy (or, oak rashes) and itching caused by chigger bites:

What does poison ivy rash look like?

The rash starts with itchiness and swelling, followed by a reddish inflammation of tiny pimples. Blisters form and couple in a chain-like reaction, and a clear fluid oozes from the blisters. This fluid then hardens to a yellowish crust.

How long does poison ivy rash last?

On average, a poison oak or ivy rash will last approximately 2 weeks. In more severe cases, the rash (a typical histamine response) can last up to 4 weeks or longer.

Can poison ivy spread?

The rash-causing oil, urushiol can spread from one area of the body to another if it is not properly removed with a cleanser such as Tecnu®. Once your body has absorbed the oil, and a rash has developed, the liquid that oozes from the blisters does NOT spread the rash. Also, if you come into contact with urushiol that could have been transferred onto items such as clothing, tools, even your pets, you can potentially develop a rash due to secondary contamination. Tecnu can also be used to clean urushiol from these items!

What about chigger bites?

Chigger bites cause pronounced itching, typically worsening 1-2 days after the bite. The area of the bite can either be flat, or raised, and can also resemble a pustule or blister. Itching can last for several days, and skin lesions can last up to two weeks. Click here for more information on chigger bites.

Unfortunately, when we decide to trek through Mother Nature, we put ourselves at risk of running into some unpleasant plants and critters! The next time you venture out for a Spartan Race or Mud Run, be sure to have your Tecnu handy in case you run into poison ivy, oak, or sumac on the course, and use Calagel Medicated Anti-Itch Gel for cooling itch-relief from: insect bites, sunburns, and more!

Live life. Get outdoors!

[1] NBC 5 Chicago -

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