“Rash” is a general term used for a wide variety of skin conditions. A rash usually refers to a change in the skin that appears as a red patch, blisters on the skin or small bumps.
Atopic Dermatitis, also known as eczema is the most common form of eczema. This is a chronic condition that causes itchy and inflamed skin. Atopic dermatitis most often appears as patches on the face, neck, limbs or trunk. It tends to flare up periodically and subsides for a time. Patients with atopic dermatitis are asked to avoid harsh soaps and detergents, scented creams or lotions as well as other irritants. Avoiding these products can lessen symptoms and reduce the risk of flare-ups. Medicated creams or ointments are usually prescribed to help improve the symptoms.
Bacterial Infections, such as impetigo will cause rashes. Impetigo is a skin infection most commonly caused by staph aureus that mainly affects infants and children. It usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child’s nose and mouth. The sores will eventually burst and develop crusts. Impetigo may clear on its own within a few weeks, but antibiotics can shorten the course of the infection and also help prevent spreading to others.
Contact Dermatitis, a type of rash that is caused by coming into contact with an allergen. Contact dermatitis caused by an irritant, usually produces a dry, scaly, non –itchy rash. Exposure to chemicals in cleaning products, causes this condition. The irritant can cause a rash on anyone who is exposed to it, but some people’s skin can be more easily affected. The severity of the reaction varies with the duration of exposure and the amount of irritant used. Contact dermatitis caused by an allergy, produces a very itchy, red rash with bumps and sometimes blisters. Common allergens that cause this include latex, rubber, poison ivy and nickel. Allergic contact dermatitis develops after your exposure to the allergen. The rash will heal with the use of medications and the irritant or allergen should be avoided.
Drug Rash, may be either a side effect of a medication you are currently taking or an allergic reaction to the medication. Any medication can cause a drug rash, but the most common culprits are antibiotics, anti-seizure medications and diuretics. Some drugs are more prone to produce a rash if you expose your skin to sunlight. A drug rash usually begins within the first week of starting a new medication. It begins with red spots that spread over the body, covering large areas of the body. The rash should resolve in a few days to weeks after discontinuing the use of the medication.
Fungal Infections, such as ringworm or yeast infections. Ringworm of the body is a fungal infection that appears as itchy, red, scaly, expanding rings on the body. The ring grows outward as the infection spreads, and the center of the infection becomes less actively infected. Ringworm is contagious and can be caught through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. It can also be cause by coming into close contact with contaminated objects such as unwashed clothing or bedding. Treatment for ringworm usually requires a antifungal medication prescription.
Heat Rash, occurs when the flow of sweat is obstructed. This is usually due to hot, humid weather, tight-fitting clothes or overdressing. Heat rash may appear as clusters of small, red bumps that produce a pricking or stinging sensation. It can also appear as clear, fluid-filled bumps that generally produce no other signs or symptoms. Heat rash is not serious and will usually resolve on its own. Heat rash can be prevented by wearing loose and light weight clothing. Excessive heat and humidity should be avoided.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. It can affect many aspects of day-to-day life and can sometimes have an impact on your overall physical health. It develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals to the skin telling the skin cells to grow too quickly. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by clearly defined red and scaly places, which is thickened skin. Psoriasis may be treated in multiple ways. A topical therapy on the outside of the skin using emollients including topical corticosteroids or calcitrene inhibitors may be used. Other options for patients with extensive psoriasis are, biologics which include medications such as Humira, Stelara or Enbrel. However, these medications do require some testing prior to initiation of therapy.
This type of rash is also known as dandruff. It can affect the eyebrows, sides of nose, behind the ears, groin and chest. Seborrheic dermatitis causes skin to flake and fall off. Treatments may include special shampoos that contain salicylic acid or coal tar, antifungal treatments or steroid lotions.
Viral Infections: Shingles is a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus. After a person has chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in nerve cells. It it’s reactivated, it causes shingles. A shingles outbreak may start with uncomfortable sensations, itching and possibly pain which no obvious signs externally. Within several days, clusters of small blisters, that are similar to chickenpox, appear on one side of your body. Over a few days, the blisters break, creating ulcers that will dry and form crust. Antiviral drugs may lessen the pain of shingles after the rash heals. Shingles should resolve within a few weeks.
A rash could be a sign of a more serious illness, such as Lyme disease, liver or kidney disease as well as some types of cancer. If you experience a rash that does not go away on its own after a few weeks, it is recommended to you make an appointment with one of our dermatologist to have it properly diagnosed and treated.
To learn more about rashes, or to schedule your consultation with Board-Certified Dermatologist Dr. Weyer, please fill out the form on this page. You can call our Tucson location at 520-207-3100 or our Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. We look forward to seeing you soon!