What is a rash?

Skin Rashes Symptoms, Causes and Treatment by Mobidoctor Online GP

 

A rash is a common skin condition characterized by visible changes in skin colour and texture. They may appear anywhere in the body and are typically self-limiting, subsiding on its own after a few days. The most common causes of rashes include allergies to triggering factors, stings, and bites from insects and animals, viral infections like shingles, and chronic conditions like eczema.

 

But there are certain rashes that merit medical attention, as they are signs of a more serious infection. You should see a doctor right away if your rashes worsen, do not subside after a few weeks, or if it is accompanied by several other symptoms like high-grade fever or shortness of breath.

Are certain people more susceptible to rashes?

Groups that are more susceptible to getting rashes are the following:

 

People with allergies

 

Allergies may have been inherited from your family. Your specific triggering allergens can give you a rash once you’ve been exposed to them.

 

Babies and infants

 

Young babies and infants have delicate skin that can be highly susceptible to rash development. Heat, soaps, and diapers may cause a rash flare-up in these children.

 

Bedridden and immobile patients

 

These people could develop rashes on the body areas they are lying on. Most of these patients are bed-bound elderlies that require turning every two hours or so to prevent rash development. Left untreated, rashes may progress to full-blown bed sores.

Rash symptoms

General symptoms of most rashes include the following:

 

  • Itchiness
  • Red spots and bumps on the skin
  • Blisters
  • Dicolouration
  • Scaly skin

 

Not all rashes will present with itchiness, but it is still a common symptom present in several skin conditions. Try your best not to scratch itchy rashes because scratching can lead to skin damage and a faster spreading of the rash on your body if it is a contagious kind.

What can a rash be a symptom of?

Stings, bites, and allergic reactions to triggering factors are the most common reasons why one develops a rash. However, other medical conditions may also present with rashes:

 

Eczema

 

This is a chronic skin condition that brings about dry, reddish, and itchy skin. Rashes can develop typically on the elbows and knees for adults and anywhere on the bodies of little children, infants, and babies.

 

Meningitis

 

This is a serious condition characterized by inflammation of the meninges, or the membrane lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Roll a glass over your rashes and if it doesn’t disappear or fade, then it is a strong sign of meningitis. You should immediately seek urgent medical help as the disease is a life-threatening one.

 

Psoriasis

 

This disease is a long-term condition that gives off a red and scaly rash similar to eczema, albeit less itchy. Psoriasis rashes can grow on the scalp, knees, and elbows.

 

Pityriasis rosea

 

This condition is characterized by rashes that occur in the person’s trunk in a Christmas tree-like fashion. The rashes almost appear to follow the lines of the rib cage.

 

Contact dermatitis

 

Rashes appear in this condition due to a reaction in your immune system. Such reactions occur after direct contact with an allergen. Typical culprits of contact dermatitis include harsh soaps or cleansing agents.

 

Heat Rash

 

Millaria rubra (prickly heat), as this condition is also called, stems from sweat that was obstructed in some way. The rashes look like tiny red bumps in clusters and are generally itchy.

 

Ringworm

 

This is a contagious infection brought about by fungi. Ringworm rash looks like a scaly red ring that appears slightly raised from the skin. Antifungal preparations are used to treat the disease.

 

Shingles

 

This is an illness caused by the chickenpox virus. You can contract this contagious skin condition especially if you’ve been infected by chickenpox as a child. Shingles rash is characterized by painful fluid-filled blisters that burst and crust as they heal.

 

Allergic reactions

 

Rashes may develop as a result of coming in direct contact with a harmful or a new allergen. Plants that are potential allergens include poison oak and poison ivy, but many other plants and things may cause allergic reactions as well. Over-the-counter medications help alleviate rash due to these allergies.

 

Other possible causes of your overall rashes and skin irritation are:

 

  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Lyme disease
  • Scarlet fever
  • Too much stress

 

Your physician will help you pinpoint the exact condition your rash is coming from by assessing your rashes and learning more about your specific symptoms.

What should you do if you have a rash?

Rashes are typically not an urgent concern unless you believe it is a rash from meningitis (in which case you need to urgently seek help from the nearest hospital A&E). Topical lotions and creams are often prescribed by doctors and can be used to help soothe itching and redness. Most of these topical remedies are available over-the-counter as well.

 

Rashes caused by allergic reactions are treated with antihistamines to calm the skin and immune system down and stop the development of further rashes.

 

See a doctor if rashes persist after a few days, worsens or spreads quickly to other body parts and if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as high-grade fever. Rashes could be a sign of serious infection as well, so be vigilant. Again, meningitis rashes merit urgent medical attention and treatment to save your life.

How can Mobidoctor help?

Mobidoctor has physicians that are available for an online video consultation. You can book an appointment at any time or date you wish, and the doctor will talk to you via video chat on your laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone devices. You may then show your rashes over the video consultation, and the doctor can assess, diagnose, and prescribe treatment for it at once.

 

Our physicians are available every day of the week to assist you in your medical problems. They can write up prescriptions and send them instantly to your nearest pharmacy. They can also arrange for specialist referrals should you need to be examined and treated further.