How to tell if a rash needs medical attention

How to tell if a rash needs medical attention


A rash is a skin condition in which the color,
appearance or texture of skin changes. Rashes can appear as blotches, redness, bumps,
lumps, welts, or blisters. They can be red, itchy, scaly, dry, or weepy, and they can
occur in one area of skin or all over the body. In addition, some rashes may come and go,
while others never seem to go away. To the untrained eye, all rashes may look
alike and seem easily treatable with over-the-counter oral antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream. However, since rashes have many causes, the
best way to correctly diagnose a rash is to see a dermatologist. Although most rashes are not life-threatening,
some may signal something more serious. If you have a rash and notice any of the following
symptoms, see a dermatologist immediately. The rash is all over your body. A rash that covers the body usually indicates
something more serious, such as an infection or allergic reaction. You have a fever with the rash. If this is the case, seek immediate medical
attention. This could be caused by a serious allergic
reaction or an infection. Examples of rashes caused by infection include
scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, and shingles. The rash appears suddenly 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 immediately or call 911. The rash is made up of blisters, or the rash
turns into open sores. This could be the result of an allergic reaction,
a reaction to medication, or an internal cause. Go to the emergency room immediately if the
blisters affect your eyes, multiple areas in your mouth or your genitals. The rash is painful. Painful rashes can be a sign of a serious
problem and should quickly be evaluated by a dermatologist. 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. Go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately
if you have a rash and you’re having trouble breathing or have swelling of the lips, tongue
or throat. Rashes can come in many forms and, depending
on the cause, they can take days or even weeks to heal. Rather than try to treat the rash on your
own, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist is trained to tell which rashes require more extensive medical testing and can properly diagnose the rash and determine
the best course for treatment. To find a dermatologist in your area, visit
aad.org.

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