A rash is indicated by an abnormal change in the skin’s texture or color. While a virus, such as the measles or the chicken pox, causes some rashes, other rashes may be caused by skin irritation. Sometimes a rash can be a sign of a serious medical problem, which may be life-threatening in some cases.
Many different types of skin rashes exist, and just a few of the most common types of rashes include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis – This is the most common rash found in adults and results in an itchy, red scaling rash that often affects the brows, cheeks, ears, and forehead.
- Eczema – Eczema involves several skin conditions characterized by dry, itchy, inflamed, red skin. Both adults and children can be affected, although it is not contagious.
- Contact dermatitis – Caused by contact with a substance or chemical that irritates skin, the rash is generally oozy and weepy and only affects skin that’s come in contact with the problem substance. Poison sumac and poison ivy , as well as chemical exposures, are examples of contact dermatitis.
- Drug eruptions – Some medications may cause skin rashes as a side effect. A drug rash may also be an allergic reaction to the medication.
- Hives – Hives are itchy, red bumps that occur quickly and usually go away within eight hours.
- Shingles – Caused by the chicken pox virus, clusters of blisters may occur, eventually breaking and leaving ulcers that dry out, forming crusts.
- Cellulitis & Abscesses – This is a bacterial infection of the skin, often from “staph” or other bacteria, including resistant strains such as MRSA.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
While many rashes are not serious, some rashes do require prompt medical attention. Contact your doctor quickly if you have the following symptoms:
- A sudden rash that covers a large portion of your body
- A rash that begins right after starting a brand new medication
- You develop a rash with a flu-like illness
- A rash results in mouth sores that make it tough to consume clear liquids
In some cases, a rash and accompanying symptoms may require emergency treatment. Get emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:
- A rash that is red to purple, that looks like a bruise and is associated with an illness that includes a fever
- A rash that starts blistering over a large area of your body or if large areas of skin starts to peel
- You develop mouth sores that make it impossible to drink even small bits of liquid
- You have a rash and faint
- You experience swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat along with the rash
- Difficulty breathing with a rash
If you have any of the previous symptoms, visit Pinnacle ER for emergency treatment immediately. We offer the diagnostic tools and services needed to diagnose your rash and its underlying cause.