We got a call from one of Cal's teachers this morning that he had a rash on his face and they were wondering if someone could come in to take a look at him. Luckily, I was on call last night and therefore was in a position to get out from work early today, so I headed in to school around 11:00am. It was as I suspected; that is to say, essentially benign. See, last year around this time of year, Cal had a period that lasted a few weeks where he would periodically get these urticarial rashes (I believe "hives" would be the closest corresponding colloquialism) on different parts of his body. His face, his chest, his torso, his limbs. We presumed they were allergic in nature and tried restricting this and that food product and this or that detergent or product, but since nothing new was being introduced and there seemed to be very little rhyme or reason to when the hives would appear (I had a few days where I was convinced that it was either heat urticaria or that he was allergic to his own sweat, though none of these theories panned out under more rigorous clinical tests: i.e. ice packs, warming pads, forced exercise, what have you) and since there seemed to be no untoward sequelae aside from some itching, we just chalked it up to idiopathic urticaria and eventually it went away.
Yesterday he had some hives on his legs before bedtime. I put some steroid cream on them and told him to quit scratching them, for God's sake. And this morning he had some hives on his face, though they had almost completely subsided by the time I arrived. He has eaten no new foods, no new lotions, we have not changed detergents, even his clothes are old. He has no wheezing, no swelling, nothing else but this urticarial rash which comes and goes. I expect this cycle will last for a few weeks like last time, and then go into hibernation again like last time. One of our friends (who happens to be a pediatric immunologist--see, sometimes having gone to medical school is useful, at least you always have someone to call) is also completely nonplussed, which is reassuring. Last year we gave him Benadryl every time he got the rash, but it hardly seemed to make any difference and anyway, I hated sending him to school with the prospect that he might fall asleep halfway through circle time, so I just stopped doing it and it was fine. So I guess we'll stick with the "less is more" approach for now.
Once I arrived at school and ascertained that Cal did not have some sort of purpuric fever nor was his airway swelling shut, I pointed him back towards the rest of his class and told him that I'd pick him up in a couple of hours, at the end of the school day. He scampered off, as did I. Then, on my way home to put Mack down for his nap, I got McDonald's for lunch and now I have post-McDonald's regret. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, though.