You’ve probably experienced it at least once: the red, irritated, or inflamed skin known as a rash. Rashes can be itchy, dry, or sore. They’re usually uncomfortable, and sometimes they require medical treatment
“Rashes are a common reason for people to visit us. It’s a good idea to have a rash evaluated,” says Jenilee Foster PA, Director of Education and Training at WellNow Urgent Care. “Most people have probably experienced a mild rash, but some rashes can be signs of more serious medical issues. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to have a knowledgeable medical team to help you.”
Learning more about common conditions like rashes can help you make smart decisions about your health. You’ll likely benefit from the knowledge at some point, even if you don’t have a rash now.
Skin rashes can happen for various reasons. Most commonly, rashes occur when the skin reacts to an irritant. Some medical conditions can also cause rashes.
Here are some of the common causes of skin rashes:
Allergies: A rash can occur when you consume or come into contact with something you’re allergic to. This can include pollen, bug bites, pet dander, certain foods, and other substances.
Irritants: Contact with irritating substances like harsh soaps or detergents can result in a rash.
Insect Bites: Mosquito bites, bee stings, and other insect bites can make your skin red and itchy.
Heat and Sweat: Excessive sweating or heat can cause a heat rash, especially in places where your skin rubs together.
Medications: Some medicines can cause skin reactions as a side effect or as the result of an allergy. Always monitor how your body responds to medications, whether you’re taking a new medication or continuing one with known side effects.
Stress: Feeling stressed can sometimes cause rashes. Stress rashes frequently appear in the form of hives on the upper body, although they can appear anywhere.
Pathogens: Some viruses and bacteria can affect the skin, causing rashes and other symptoms. Some well-known examples include chicken pox and Lyme disease.
Skin conditions: Health conditions like eczema and psoriasis can cause chronic or reoccurring rashes.
Unless you know you’ve been exposed to an allergen or irritant (such as a plant, soap, or chemical you’ve reacted to in the past), it can be difficult to tell what’s causing your rash. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, have many tools to diagnose the cause of your skin irritation.
Diagnosis starts with an examination and learning about your symptoms and medical history. At WellNow Urgent Care, this can be done at a care center or through our virtual care program. Your provider may then order tests to help with diagnosis.
Most rashes clear up on their own in a few days or weeks. If your rash is not improving, it may be a sign that medical treatment is needed.
Some rashes can clear up on their own, however a rash can indicate a more complex medical condition therefore we recommend a healthcare provider evaluation.
A healthcare provider can help identify the cause of your rash and ways you can minimize or eliminate your symptoms. This may include prescription medications, antihistamines, creams and lotions, or avoiding certain substances that irritate your skin.
You should seek emergency care for your rash if:
Your rash appears suddenly
The rash covers your body and/or spreads quickly
Your rash develops open sores, blisters, or infection
A fever accompanies your rash
You have difficulty breathing
Urgent care providers can help with most non-emergency rashes. WellNow medical professionals are well-versed in treating these and various other ailments.
This medical information has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Birenbaum, Chief Medical Officer for WellNow Urgent Care.
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