Are You Kidding? Shiitake Mushroom Rash!

//Are You Kidding? Shiitake Mushroom Rash!

Are You Kidding? Shiitake Mushroom Rash!

I’m used to having strange ailments, but this one belongs at the top of the list of “Weird things that have happened to me.”

Yesterday the kids had already eaten dinner, so I made myself an exotic dinner consisting of catfish and mushrooms with soy sauce, canola oil and garlic. I thought I was so creative.
Later that evening, I noticed a strange rash on my stomach. A while later, the rash spread to my neck. 
I ignored the rash, thinking it was just a reaction to a new laundry detergent. 
However, the next day the rash had spread to my legs and back. 
Naturally, I did what you should NOT do under any circumstances; I consulted the internet. The internet thought it might be scabies, or perhaps shingles. Either way, it wasn’t looking good for me.
I even had my soul sister Donna researching what on earth this rash could be. I was texting her pictures like this one:
I thought I’d better make an appointment to see my dermatologist. 
Today, I went to the dermatologist. My mom came along for moral support.
The medical assistant asked me a series of questions. One of them was: 
Did you eat anything unusual?

Well, I had some shiitake mushrooms. I’ve never eaten those before.
My dermatologist entered the room, took one look at my rash and smiled.
“This is a classic textbook case of flagellate dermatitis! It’s incredibly rare and it’s only caused by two things, one of them is shiitake mushrooms! Would you mind if I took some pictures of your rash for teaching purposes?”
“Go for it!” I said without hesitation. 
 “I almost want to quiz my residents to see if they know what this is.” She said with a smirk.
“Why not? Send them in!” I proclaimed.
So the residents piled into the exam room asking me questions to try to figure out what caused the rash.
*This picture was taken by Elizabeth Fader while she was laughing hysterically and saying “only you!”

Here’s what they were looking at up close:

Well, that was fun! If I see a shiitake mushroom in a dark alley, I’m running the other direction. 
By | 2014-04-06T01:45:54+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|8 Comments


  1. Elizabeth Fader March 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I am the mother and I can confirm all the above. It was hysterical, although itchy. The doctor took one look and almost giggled. “This is maybe the only case of shitake reaction I have seen outside of a textbook.” We laughed that Sarah can come with these unusual and unique diseases! Thank God it can be treated and should be gone very soon.

  2. Wendy S. May 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    My husband has this right now, only he’s been to the family dr. office (seeing two different dr./nurse practitioners) And by his second visit (today) which was two days past the first visit, we have discovered on our own what this was. The doctor didn’t know what he was talking about, and just prescribed him some prednisone. I’m going to call the actual dermatologist tomorrow. My question to you is, what did they give you to treat this, and how long did it last? Thanks so much, it’s so rare, that it’s hard to find much info on the web about other cases.

  3. Old School/New School Mom June 2, 2013 at 8:10 am

    He definitely should see a real dermatologist. They gave me prescription strength antihistamines. That’s all you all really do. It takes about two weeks to completely go away. Ugh! I’m story 🙁

  4. Aubrie_Rose August 5, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I have this now….Had it 6 weeks ago as well and didn’t have a clue what it was.. Woke up in the morning with intense itching in my scalp and the nape of my neck. The rash quickly spread to my torso. On my breast, hips and belly I started getting long red streaks. Then my husband noticed I had them on the back of my neck and back as well. I had a tummy ache for the first two days and then when that passed is when the rash started, so it wasn’t an immediate reaction. I had eaten at P.F. Changs so I called them to confirm if there was shiitaki mushrooms in my dish… Yes. there was… Then I remembered I had eaten there for my birthday as well six weeks ago, the first time I got this horrible rash. That dish also had shiitaki mushrooms. IT took some detective work, but I’m glad to know now what it is, and that I can’t eat them. But it is a miserable rash.

  5. Jan Dainard September 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    After 3 dr visits, last one being urgent care. I got prednisone, dermoside Ointment, Claritin during the day and Benedryl and night. Also took Aveno Oatmeal bathes which helped calm the itching.

  6. Callie Query December 6, 2015 at 9:10 am

    My husband has now gotten this twice from shiitake mushrooms at PF Changs. It’s hard to believe, as a consumer of any and all varieties of Asian food over the years, and the fact that I have bought and cooked at home with shiitakes, that he hasn’t eaten shiitakes before. I wonder if it’s a strain of the shiitake they use of if they don’t fully cook their shiitakes. I don’t know but it’s strange.

  7. Tricia Cleveland February 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    This just happened to me. I had lettuce wraps at pf changs and a couple of days later I got a horrible rash. The PA that looked at it told me it was a weird looking rash not consistent with a normal contact dermatitis. I have been on prednisone x 1 week which has helped. I googled rash with streak like raised welts and found images of the shiitake rash that looked like the rash I have. I then googled pf changs to see if anything that I consumed there contained shiitake mushrooms-lightbulb.

  8. Laura R March 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I too just came down with this same rash a few days ago. My Dr. had no idea what it was and just suggested Benedryl and gave me a steroid cream neither of which has really done anything. The only rash I could find that looked similar was this one. I couldn’t recall eating any shiitake mushrooms and then I saw this comment. I ate at a PF Chang’s two days before the rash appeared! Thank you so much for commenting. I wonder if this is actually super rare or if perhaps people don’t make the connection when it happens because there isn’t a lot of info? From what I understand, it usually takes about 10 days or so to leave the system. I also have swelling in my hands and sensitivity. I’m trying to decide if I should ride it out or see a dermatologist (very expensive with my current coverage). I know this is an older post, but if anyone reads this and could provide any other info/ advice it would be much appreciated.

    I ate at a PF Chang’s in downtown Seattle and the rash began on the back of my neck about two days later. A few hours later it appeared on my back like long scratches down my spine and then horizontal scratches all across the back. I also have patches on my legs and arms and the back of my hands with some swelling and sensitivity. In some places I am also covered in a kind of a pinprick looking rash. Hope this might be helpful for others in their research. Looking at 100s of pictures of rashes on the internet is a pretty terrifying way to spend an evening… 😉

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