Nobody wants a rash. They’re unsightly and can be irritating, but they can also be a sign of something deeper and scarier going on. Determining the cause of your rash is the quickest way to decide whether or not you need to see a doctor.
Rashes of All Kinds
A rash is often a sign that your skin came into contact with an allergen or other skin irritant. A rash is a visible notice that our skin or in some cases our entire body is reacting to negative stimuli. While it might be hard to pinpoint what is causing skin redness or itching, things like contact dermatitis can be a common allergic reaction to skincare products. As it turns out, plenty of rashes respond well to over-the-counter remedies. Some rashes are a sign of something more serious, and for that one must seek immediate medical help. (Healthline, 2020)
What causes a Rash?
A skin rash can be caused by a multitude of factors some of which will be obvious, and others will be more difficult to pinpoint. Few most common causes of rashes include:
- Insect bites and stings
- Body lice and bedbugs
- Reactions to grasses or plants such as poison ivy
- Skin conditions such as eczema, lichen planus
- Bacterial or viral infections such as chickenpox, tinea, measles, and shingles
- Side effects of pharmaceutical drugs including antibiotics
How to identify if a rash is serious?
Here are some signs that your rash needs to be looked at by a medical professional:
- If you have a fever or pain accompanying the rash
This could be caused by an allergic reaction or an infection. Examples of rashes caused by infection include scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, and shingles.
- If you have a sudden spreading of bruise-like lesions
It might be a symptom of vasculitis and you need to get that looked at because your clotting cells might not be working right.
- If your rash continues unabated
Some rashes start out completely benign, but then a secondary infection develops because of the integrity of the skin, which is a barrier against potential pathogens. Such rashes are “Signs of an infection include warmth and pain, yellow or green cloudy discharge, and a bad odor.”
- Any rash that is widespread
It can be a sign of a major allergic reaction. For example, if this happens within two weeks of starting a new medication, the concern would be a reaction to the medication.
- Rashes that start to blister
In this case, you must go straight to the doctor’s office unless you have good reason to suspect you’ve come in contact with poison ivy or any poisonous plant.
- Appears as purple spots
In case you observe purple spots over hands and feet, this could be a sign of a bacterial infection of the heart.
Although most skin rashes aren’t life-threatening, however, there are some symptoms that can signal the rash is serious. If you experience any of these above-mentioned symptoms, you should make an appointment with a doctor or go to the emergency room. (WebMD, 2020)
Phillips, Natalie. “Rash: 22 Common Skin Rashes, Pictures, Causes, and Treatment.” N.p., 13 Aug. 2018. Web. 30 July 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/rashes#overview
“Rash 101 in Adults: When to Seek Medical Treatment.” American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2020. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/rash/rash-101#:~:text=A%20rash%20that%20covers%20the,allergic%20reaction%20or%20an%20infection Jaliman, Debra. “5 Life-Threatening Skin Rashes & Their Symptoms.” WebMD. WebMD, 05 Nov. 2019. Web. 30 July 2020. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/life-threatening-skin-rashes