Rash

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideRosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases

What is the treatment for a rash?

Most rashes are not dangerous. Many rashes last a while and get better on their own. It is therefore not unreasonable to treat symptoms like itchy and/or dry skin for a few days to see whether the condition gets milder and goes away.

Nonprescription (over-the-counter) remedies include the following:

  • Anti-itch creams containing 1% hydrocortisone cream can be effective
  • Oral antihistamines like diphenhydramine and hydroxyzine can be helpful in controlling the itching.
  • Moisturizing lotions
  • Fungal infections are best treated with topical antifungal medications that contain clotrimazole (Lotrimin), miconazole (Micatin), or terbinafine (Lamisil).

If these measures do not help, or if the rash persists or becomes more widespread, a consultation with a general physician or dermatologist is advisable.

There are many, many other types of rashes that we have not covered in this article. So, it is especially important, if you have any questions about the cause or medical treatment of a rash, to contact your doctor. This article, as the title indicates, is just an introduction to common skin rashes.

A word on smallpox vaccination in patients with rashes

People with atopic dermatitis or eczema should not be vaccinated against smallpox, whether or not the condition is active. Patients with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to having the virus spread on their skin, which can lead to a serious, even life-threatening condition called eczema vaccinatum. In the case of other rashes, the risk of medical complications is much less. Consult your doctor about the smallpox vaccine.

What is the prognosis for a rash?

The prognosis depends on the cause of the rash. An accurate identification is, therefore, of great importance in predicting its resolution.

Is it possible to prevent rashes?

If the cause of a particular rash is known it can be avoided. For example: a measles vaccination would be of great benefit in preventing the rash of measles, as well more serious consequences of measles infections.

Reviewed on 5/2/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Bolognia, Jean L., Joseph L. Jorizzo, and Ronald P. Rapini. Dermatology, 2nd Ed. Spain: Mosby, 2008.

Rawlin, Morton. "Exanthems and Drug Reactions." Australian Family Physician 40.7 July 2011: 486-489.

IMAGES:

1.Getty Images

2.iStock

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5.Color Atlas of Pediatric DermatologySamuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

6.iStock

7.Getty Images

8.Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

9.iStock

10.Wikipedia

11.iStock

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