What is Skin Rashes

A skin rash is a symptom, or the result of another condition. A rash is an inflamed area of skin that is generally discolored, and may have other identifying characteristics like blisters, dry patches, or scales. These patches of inflamed skin often itch, and they are sometimes painful when touched.

The Most Common causes of Skin Rashes

People experience many different skin rashes throughout their lives. Some of the most common causes of skin rashes are:

  • Eczema
  • Poison ivy
  • Poison oak
  • Hives
  • Heat rash

The most common skin rashes are caused by either contact with something you are allergic to, like the rash you get from poison ivy, or they can be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, or viruses. Knowing what caused the rash can help you to determine how to treat the condition, and if you should be worried about the condition.

Rashes almost always appear quickly and they generally go away within a few days without treatment. You can buy creams and ointments over the counter that help to relieve the itch, and often cause the redness of a minor skin rash to lessen. Most of these over the counter treatments should be discontinued after three to five days. You should follow the package instructions carefully when using these o0intments.

Cold compresses can often relief the burning, itching, swelling, and redness associated with a rash.

When to worry about a rash

When you notice a rash you should look for some signs to determine if the rash is a minor nuisance, or if it might be an indication of a more serious problem. If the rash is a minor nuisance you do not have to seek medical attention, but if the rash has the following characteristics then it is recommended that you see a doctor.

Skin Rashes that require possible medical attention include the ones with the following characteristics:

  • When the rash is accompanied by an elevated body temperature
  • When the rash covers a large portion, or your entire body
  • When the rash is accompanied by a clear runny nose, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches
  • When you have the rash inside your mouth or throat
  • When the rash is primarily located in the hotspots on your body. The hotspots include under your arms, in your groin area, under your breast.
  • When the rash forms blisters or pustules
  • When the rash lasts for more than just a few days
  • When the rash is extremely painful

Who to see for a rash

The first place to go when you have a problematic skin rash is to your regular doctor. Let them do blood work and check to see what the underlying cause of the rash is. If your doctor cannot find the cause of the rash, or feels that you need further medical treatment they will recommend you to a dermatologist for treatment.