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How are common skin rashes diagnosed?

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 list, called a differential diagnosis, of the possible diseases to be considered. Self-diagnosis of a rash is may not be accurate. An accurate diagnosis of a skin rash can require a doctor or other health-care professional.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 11

I have been attempting to self-diagnose my symptoms of bumpy skin rash mostly on my face, with severe itching and burning. I wasn't sure if it was rosacea, eczema, Demodex, dermatitis, etc. I have also tried multiple home remedies: tree tea oil, coconut oil, castor oil, honey are a few of the examples. One of the other symptoms included cracking skin around my mouth; a health care professional told me to start taking vitamin B supplements. I started to take B 50 twice daily. My cracked skin cleared up by the next day. The other thing I learned was this: I found that hot water from my shower felt real good because it got rid of the itch, but only temporarily. Note, do not do that. I believe that was a major part of my problem. Look it up; water, especially hot water causes dry skin. I immediately stopped taking the hot showers, used over the counter hydrocortisone to get through the burning sensation and I am on my way to recovery!

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Comment from: MarJ, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

Rashes appear on my skin after eating certain baked products or meat. They appear very small and itchy and if left untreated continue to itch and spread. They actually look like ringworm. My doctor actually thought it was ringworm and gave me an antifungal medication which did not help. The only medication that helps is Topisolon which was given to me by a dermatologist.

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Comment from: Sally, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 04

I had chicken pox at age 6 and have food allergies to chocolate and oatmeal.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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