Depending on the cause, a rash can appear in many different ways; welts, patches, and red spots are all symptoms associated with a rash. A rash is typically caused by an underlying condition. Some common causes include:
Atopic dermatitis (eczema): According to the American Academy of Dermatology, atopic dermatitis affects 1 in 10 Americans. It typically appears first in early childhood (by 5 years of age), but can affect people throughout their lives. It can cause extremely itchy rashes that come and go. Symptoms range from excessively dry, itchy skin — to itchy, painful rashes.
Pityriasis rosea: This is a very common skin condition that causes a temporary rash which consists of red, scaly, raised patches on the skin. It can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in older children and young adults (aged 10 to 35). While we aren’t certain of the cause, it is thought that pityriasis rosea is caused by a viral infection.
Contact dermatitis: This is an itchy rash that is caused by a substance or irritant. The irritant triggers an allergic reaction therefore irritating the skin. Anyone can develop contact dermatitis. We offer patch testing in our offices to help determine the cause of contact dermatitis.
Drug rash: This rash may occur as a side effect of taking a drug, or as an allergic reaction to a drug. Antibiotics, diuretics (water pills), and other medications can cause a rash.
Intertrigo: This type of rash appears in large skin folds where the skin rubs together. It can be painful or itchy, it is not contagious.
Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a condition that causes the body to make new skin cells in days rather than in weeks. The cells tend to clump on the surface of the skin leaving thick, scaly patches.
Other skin conditions that may cause rashes include ringworm, shingles (herpes zoster), hives (urticaria), seborrheic dermatitis, and venous stasis dermatitis.
It is important to make an appointment with us should you experience any; or a combination of the following:
- A rash that covers your body. A rash that covers your body could indicate something such as an allergic reaction or infection, this requires medical attention.
- You experience a fever in conjunction with a rash. When a fever is present with a rash, this could indicate a medical emergency. This could be caused by an allergic reaction or an infection. Examples of rashes caused by infection include scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, and shingles, all of which require urgent medical attention.
- The rash is sudden and spreads rapidly. This could be the result of an allergy. Allergies to medications are common, and some can be serious. If breathing becomes difficult, go to the emergency room or call 911.
- The rash begins to blister. If your rash is made up of blisters, or if the rash turns into open sores, it could be the result of an allergic reaction, a reaction to medication, or an internal cause. Seek medical attention if a blistering rash affects the skin around your eyes, multiple areas in your mouth, or your genitals.
- The rash is painful. Painful rashes should quickly be evaluated by a physician.
- The rash is infected. If you have an itchy rash and you scratch it, it may become infected. Signs of an infected rash are yellow or green fluid, swelling, crusting, pain, and warmth in the area of the rash, or a red streak coming from the rash.