Rashes

The term “rash” does not refer to a specific condition, but to a variety of skin eruptions that can be caused by various physiological and environmental sources. Rashes affect almost everyone at some time in their life. Depending on the type of rash, its location and the type of treatment, a rash may last a few days or a few months. Here are descriptions of a few of the more common rashes:

Seborrheic dermatitis – This is the most common rash affecting adults. It usually appears on various parts of the head.

Atopic dermatitis – Commonly known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is characterized by inflamed, itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis may appear anywhere on the body, though it is most often found on the face, trunk and limbs.

Contact dermatitis – Refers to a rash caused by physical contact with an allergen such as a chemical or a plant such as poison ivy. Rashes due to contact dermatitis tend to produce greater symptoms of itchiness.

Heat rash – Caused by an interruption in the flow of perspiration.

Psoriasis – Caused by the abnormal accumulation of dead skin cells.

Ringworm – A contagious rash that starts as a red ring on the skin and grows outward.

What are the symptoms?

Because the term “rash” encompasses so many varieties of skin eruptions, there are an accompanying number of symptoms particular to each. For example, a bacterial or fungal infection may produce symptoms different than those of a rash caused by poison oak. In general, however, rash symptoms are characterized by an abnormal eruption of the skin that may cause some or all of the following:

Redness
Scaling
Bumps
Itching

Who gets it?

Almost everyone will get a rash or rashes in their lifetime.

Treatment Options

Most rashes are not serious. Rashes are not necessarily an indication of a more serious condition, and most will disappear on their own. There are, however, remedies to reduce itching and to expedite the disappearance of the symptoms particular to a specific rash. These remedies include:

Topical anti-itch lotions containing hydrocortisone
Moisturizers
Topical anti-fungal creams
Oral antihistamines
Light therapy

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