The term rash has no precise meaning but often is used to refer to a wide variety of red skin eruptions. A rash is any inflammatory condition of the skin. Dermatologists have developed various terms to describe skin rashes. The first requirement is to identify a primary, most frequent feature. The configuration of the rash is then described using adjectives such as "circular," "ring-shaped," "linear," and "snake-like." Other characteristics of the rash that are noted include density, color, size, consistency, tenderness, shape, and even temperature. Finally, the distribution of the rash on the body can be very useful in diagnosis since many skin diseases have a predilection to appear in
certain body areas. Although certain findings may be a very dramatic component of the skin disorder, they may be of limited value in producing an accurate diagnosis. These include findings such as ulcers, scaling, and scabbing. Using this framework, it is often possible to develop a small listing of the possible diseases to be considered. Below is a short discussion of some common categories of skin rashes:
- Rashes produced by fungal or bacterial infection
- Noninfectious, common rashes
Self-diagnosis of a rash is not usually a good idea. Rashes that quickly resolve are generally not dangerous. Proper evaluation of a skin rash requires a visit to a doctor or other health-care professional.
Scaly patches of skin produced by fungal or bacterial infection
When infections appear as rashes, the most common culprits are fungal or bacterial infections.
Symptoms, signs, and treatment of fungal infections
Fungal infections are fairly common but don't appear nearly as often as rashes in the eczema category. Perhaps the most common diagnostic mistake made by both patients and physicians is to almost automatically call scaly rashes "a fungus." For instance, someone with several scaly spots on the arms, legs, or torso is much more likely to have a form of eczema or dermatitis than actual ringworm (the layman's term for fungus). Likewise, yeasts are botanically related to fungi and can cause skin rashes. These tend to affect folds of skin (like the skin under the breasts or the groin). They look fiery red and have pustules around the edges. As is the case with ringworm, many rashes that are no more than eczema or irritation get mislabeled "yeast infections."
Fungus and yeast infections have little to do with hygiene -- clean people get them as well. Despite their reputation, fungal rashes are not commonly acquired from dogs or other animals. They seem to be most easily acquired in
gyms, showers, pools, or locker rooms or from other family members. Treatment is usually straightforward. Many effective antifungal creams can be bought at the drugstore without a prescription, including 1% clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) and 1% terbinafine (Lamisil). In extensive cases, or when toenails are involved, a prescription drug like oral terbinafine may be useful.
If a fungus has been repeatedly treated without success, it is worthwhile considering the possibility that it was never really a fungus to begin with but rather a form of eczema. Eczema is treated entirely differently. A fungal
infection can be independently confirmed by performing a variety of simple tests.
Symptoms, signs, and treatment of bacterial infections and impetigo.
Both may caused by staph or strep germs and are much more common in children than adults. Eruptions caused by bacteria are often pustular (the bumps are topped by pus) or may be plaque-like and quite painful (such as with cellulitis). Again, poor hygiene plays little or no role. Nonprescription antibacterial creams like bacitracin (Neosporin) are not very effective. Oral antibiotics or prescription-strength creams like mupirocin (Bactroban) are usually needed.
Rash - Diagnosis Question: What type of rash did you have, and how was it diagnosed?
- Scabies are itch mites that burrow under the skin and produce intense itching that's usually worse at night. Symptoms of scabies are small bumps and blisters
- The term "ringworm" or "ringworms" refers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation
- Bed bugs (from the insect family Cimicidae) are small, reddish-brown tick-like insects that feed by sucking the blood of mammals. They are often found
- Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
- Staphylococcus or Staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly
- Skin Tag
- A skin tag is a small benign growth of skin that projects from the surrounding skin. Skin tags can vary in appearance (smooth, irregular, flesh colored,
- Lyme Disease
- Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin causing a reddish rash associated
- Athlete's Foot
- Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet.
- Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
- Hand-foot-and-mouth syndrome is clinical pattern consisting of a rash on the hands and feet, and in the mouth. Hand-foot-and-mouth syndrome is caused by
- MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria causes skin infections with the following signs and symptoms: cellulitis, abscesses, carbuncles,
- Jock Itch
- Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those
- Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia,
- Infectious Mononucleosis
- Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono"
- Coxsackie Virus
- Coxsackie viruses may be divided into two groups. Type A causes hand, foot, and mouth disease and conjunctivitis, while type B causes pleurodynia. Both
- Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin that is usually a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergy may be to food or medications,
- Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness of the forehead, chin, and lower half of the nose. In addition to inflammation of the facial skin, symptoms
- Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch),
- Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by staph and strep bacteria. There are two types of impetigo: non-bullous and bullous. Symptoms of non-bullous
- Poison Ivy
- Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are plants that cause an itchy skin rash and skin inflamation when contacted directly. This poison can be treated with medications
- Spider Bites (Including Black Widow and Brown Recluse)
- The majority of spiders in the United States are harmless. Two exceptions include the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Symptoms of a harmless
- Mold exposure may cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to molds. Symptoms of mold allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, redness
- Keratosis Pilaris
- Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin disorder in which small white or red bumps appear around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and
- Roseola is a viral illness that most commonly affects young children. Symptoms and signs include a sudden high fever that lasts for three to five days,
- Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease
- Allergy (Allergies)
- An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come
- Dengue Fever
- Dengue fever is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms of dengue include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint
- Lichen Planus
- Lichen planus is a common skin disease that features small, itchy pink or purple spots on the arms or legs. the abnormal areas on the skin in lichen planus
- Herpangina is a contagious illness often seen in children. It is caused by an enterovirus. Coxsackie virus is the most common cause. Symptoms and signs
- Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches.
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of