Although rashes can be common, discovering one on your body can be frightening. Skin rashes can appear as red, bumpy, scaly, and even itchy patches of skin. At times, a rash can have blisters and welts as well. Rashes vary in appearance, size, and severity, but the good news is that most rashes are temporary.

Causes of Skin Rashes

Common Causes of Rashes in Adults

Often times, a rash is caused by contact with a certain allergen or as a reaction to a medication and will clear when use of the allergen ceases. Common causes of rashes in adults include:

  • Reaction to a certain medication
  • Allergies
  • Certain cosmetics
  • Heat or humid weather
  • Excess sun exposure
  • Reaction to clothing, such as scratchy fabric or certain laundry detergents
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Seborrheic eczema

Other Causes of Rashes in Adults

At times, a rash can be a sign of a more serious or rare medical condition in adults, such as:

  • Lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Diseases such as chickenpox and measles

Common Causes of Rashes in Children

Children tend to develop rashes as a side effect of viral infections or bacterial infections. Common causes of rashes in children include:

  • Diaper rash
  • Scarlet fever
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Fifth disease
  • Impetigo

Other Causes of Rashes in Children

Children can develop a rash as a symptom of more serious and rare conditions. With vaccinations available for chickenpox and measles, children are less likely to develop this diseases. However, it is possible for children to experience rashes from more serious conditions, such as:

  • Kawaski disease
  • Chickenpox
  • Measles

At Home Treatment for Rashes

In general, most rashes can be treated at home, but it greatly depends on the cause of the rash. If you are experiencing a contact rash, discontinue use of the suspected allergen immediately. Until the rash clears, use the tips below.

Taking Care of Contact Rashes:

  • Use a mild, gentle soap and avoid hot water.
  • Pat the rash dry (avoid rubbing).
  • When possible, let the rash breathe (avoid covering it with clothing).
  • Apply an unscented moisturizing lotion to the rash.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine to control itching and discomfort. An oatmeal bath or calamine lotion can also help relieve itchiness.

When to Seek Medical Treatment for Rashes

At times, a rash may not clear up on its own, or it may be an indication of an underlying medical condition. If this is the case, the physicians at Blue Ridge Dermatology will perform a physical exam and inspect the rash. However, the first step is knowing when to seek medical treatment.

Seek Immediate Treatment with your Primary Care:

If your rash is accompanied by any of the symptoms below, seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness or itchiness in the throat
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increasing pain in the rash area
  • Discoloration in the rash area
  • Swelling of the face or extremities
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees fahrenheit or over
  • Severe head or neck pain
  • Repeated vomiting or diarrhea

Contact Your Doctor:

Contact Blue Ridge Dermatology today if you are experiencing a rash in combination with any of the symptoms below:

  • Joint pain
  • Red streaks or tender areas near the rash area
  • A recent bite from a tick or animal
  • A sore throat
  • A low grade fever

Medical Treatment for Rashes

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, or if you have a rash that persists after treating the rash at home, the doctors at Blue Ridge Dermatology can help. Our dermatologists will exam the area and ask questions to determine the root cause of the rash. Be prepared to answer questions pertaining to your rash, your medical history, diet, hygiene, and recent use of products or medications.

At times, it may be necessary to take your temperature or order additional tests, such as an allergy test or complete blood count. If needed, your dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy to better analyze the rash. Your dermatologist will walk you through any additional tests that are needed.

Learn More

If you have a rash that is concerning, contact Blue Ridge Dermatology today. Our dermatologists are experts in diagnosing and treating skin conditions such as rashes, as well as identifying underlying causes for rashes. Get to know our team of doctors and request an appointment online today!