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    California Residents Suffer Mysterious Rash After Extreme Fire Conditions

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    There are reports of local residents suffering from itchy skin in Rancho Cordova, a city in Sacramento County, California, after a vegetation fire in the city last week that grew to 215 acres.

    Many local residents are now questioning whether the fire smoke in the air caused allergic skin reactions. 

    "My skin was getting tight and swollen and I was constantly itching my neck," local resident Jenni Matamoros, who lives in the Rancho Cordova neighborhood of Stonecreek, recently told CBS Sacramento.

    "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… I said it can't be something I ate because I hadn't eaten in hours," she added.

    Several other people living in Stonecreek also shared similar experiences.

    "I [had] itching blisters all over my face, my neck," said resident Tamara Steinhoff, CBS Sacramento reported July 11.

    Steinhoff noticed the symptoms after going for a walk Friday.

    "All of a sudden I started burning, feeling like I was itching, my throat was starting to close, felt like I couldn't breathe," said Steinhoff. 

    Burning branches or logs that contain even small concentrations of urushiol, the toxin in poison ivy, oak and sumac plants, can cause allergic reactions in some.

    "Poison oak can travel through the air, the allergens are so strong that they can create an allergic response, but everyone has a different sensitivity," Dermatologist Emmanuel Maverakis recently told CBS Sacramento.

    "Poison oak is highly immunogenic so someone with a very mild amount of exposure can get an eruption," he noted, adding that poison oak reactions show up 24 to 48 hours after exposure.

    However, no firefighting crew members have experienced any symptoms of allergic reactions, disputing the poison ivy theory.

    "None of our firefighters are experiencing the symptoms that these neighbors have felt," Metro Fire Cpt. Chris Vestal told CBS Sacramento.


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