A skin rash is an inflammation and discoloration of the skin. The affected skin may have bumps, scales or sores and it may itch or burn.
Most skin rashes can be managed with over-the-counter creams and medication but some will need to be examined by a doctor.
Common Causes of Skin Rashes
Infection – An area of the body that has been infected by a virus, bacteria or fungus may develop a rash. A viral rash may be symmetrical and occur anywhere on the body. Rashes caused by bacteria vary widely in color and shape.
Fungal rashes are typically bright red and may not have a border. The treatment will be determined by the cause of the infection.
Drug eruptions – Some medications can cause a skin rash as a side effect.
Psoriasis – Psoriasis is characterized by bumpy, scaly skin that does not weep or ooze. It occurs most often on the knees, elbows, and scalp. The scales will eventually turn silver and fall off.
Hives – Hives are red, itchy bumps that appear suddenly. They typically disappear within eight hours and they may reappear frequently.
Contact dermatitis – Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that is caused by touching a chemical or allergen. Diaper rash and rashes caused by poison oak and poison ivy are examples of contact dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis – Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common rash that is characterized by scaly patches and flaking skin. Dandruff and cradle cap are forms of seborrheic dermatitis although the rash can also occur on the face, neck and back.
Stasis dermatitis – Stasis dermatitis occurs on the lower legs and is caused by poor circulation.
When to Seek Medical Attention for Skin Rashes
Many skin rashes will disappear after a few days and their symptoms can be alleviated by using an over-the-counter cream. If that is not the case, come into our emergency center especially if you have the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Mouth ulcers
- High fever
If you have a skin rash, you might require medical treatment. There might be an underlying condition causing the skin rash. Visit the emergency room closest to you.
Our ER is open 24/7 to help treat and diagnose your rash. Our board-certified physicians are available 24 hours. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.