Rashes can occur for a variety of reasons, here are some of the most common rashes and what you need to know about them!
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that waxes and wanes. The exact cause is unknown, however it is known that soaps, detergents, and certain foods can cause flare ups. Patients typically have plaques that form on the skin and can become crusty or flaky, and are typically very itchy. Treatment includes education on proper skin care (such as bathing, applying moisturizers and creams) all the way to treating with a corticosteroid or an immunosuppressive drug (Mayo Clinic). Your provider will help choose the correct treatment regimen based on your symptoms.
Contact Dermatitis is caused by the direct contact to either substances that are an irritant to the skin due to repeated exposure, or due to an allergic reaction. A patient can experience redness, itching, dryness, burning and even blistering to the areas that were exposed. Common causes of contact dermatitis include poison ivy, jewelry, soap and detergents and lotions. Treatment includes identifying the cause, using cold compresses, topical steroids and oral antihistamines (ClinicalKey).
Shingles is caused by herpes zoster virus reactivation, many years after an infection with the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox). A patient may experience pain prior to a rash forming. Fluid-filled vesicles form following the dermatomal pattern, meaning it can cause a striped pattern across your body. Shingles can be very painful, and can also cause neuropathy, vision loss and skin infections. Seek care from your provider if you think you have shingles. In order to help prevent shingles, a vaccine called Shingrix is available to those 50 years and older.
Urticaria, also commonly called hives, is a rash that is caused by an allergic reaction. Urticaria appears as red patches that are raised and itchy. Some common triggers are foods, medications, insect bites or stings, pollen, plants, and pet dander. If you have mild urticaria, antihistamines and creams can be helpful in order to decrease the allergic reaction that is occurring. It is important that if you develop hives and if your throat starts to close or you have trouble breathing, that you seek medical care immediately. Once you identify the trigger or cause, you should avoid it in the future.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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November 23, 2022
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