Any abnormal change in the skin color or texture is called a rash. Rashes are generally areas of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are red, itchy, and painful. Some people get rashes due to allergy, some due to infection, whereas some get due to their specific genetic makeup.
Here are the 24 most common skin rashes that you need to know:
- Herpes zoster (Shingles): This is a viral infection in which a red painful rash develops due to the reactivation of the same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox.
- Herpes simplex: This is a viral infection that causes painful sores around the mouth or genitals.
- Hives or urticaria: These appear all over the body. They appear like welts. They may be triggered by stress, medicines, insect bites, or certain food.
- Chickenpox: A contagious viral infection that mostly affects children features a super-itchy red skin rash with blisters.
- Tinea corporis: Commonly known as ringworm, it is a superficial fungal infection that can cause an itchy rash anywhere in the body.
- Molluscum contagiosum: This is a viral infection characterized by round, firm, painless bumps.
- Acne: This is a common rash seen in teenagers and may be distressing. Sometimes, it progresses into adulthood. The skin pores clog with oil and dirt and get inflamed causing the blackheads or comedones.
- Erythema infectiosum or Fifth disease: This is a viral infection that commonly occurs during childhood. Signs and symptoms include a red rash on the cheeks that resemble a slapped cheek, fever, sore throat, stomach upset, and headache.
- Pityriasis rosacea: This is a scaly reddish-pink rash that appears mostly on the chest, abdomen, and back and is most common in people between 10 and 35 years of age.
- Tinea capitis: This is a superficial fungal infection of the scalp associated with itching.
- Intertrigo: This is a rash that appears in the folds of skin such as in the groin, folds of the neck, in the axilla, and behind the ears.
- Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection in the deeper/lower layers of the skin in which there is an extensive red, shiny rash with painful swelling that most commonly appears over the legs.
- Erysipelas: This is a bacterial infection that is similar to cellulitis but which affects the upper layer of the skin.
- Impetigo: This is a highly contagious disease in which sores are found around the nose and mouth.
- Folliculitis: This is inflammation of the hair follicles that results in acne-like rash or sores around the hair follicles.
- Eczema/dermatitis: This is a group of skin conditions caused by a reaction to a particular protein in food, environment, or a metal-like nickel. Depending upon the type and cause of eczema, the rash may be dry or moist. Contact dermatitis happens when you come in contact with something that is most likely to give you a rash. Atopic dermatitis is a rash that most commonly occurs in childhood and accompanies hay fever and asthma in most people.
- Diaper rash: A diaper rash is a term given for rash due to diapers seen in babies. It causes an allergic reaction to the fragrance or material of diaper or bacterial or fungal infection. It happens if the diapers are left on for a long time that causes a moist environment around the groin of the baby.
- Measles: This is a highly contagious viral disease that begins in the respiratory system and gives rise to small, red, flat spots spreading from the face down to the neck, trunks, arms, and legs.
- Drug allergy: This is a reaction to any medicine that can appear in the form of a rash. It may look like a red patch, or in severe cases, it may blister and form red sores.
- Scabies: This is an itchy and highly contagious skin disease caused by a mite that burrows most commonly in the space between the two fingers.
- Insect bite reaction: The bite or sting of insects such as mosquitoes or bees evoke your immune system that makes the stung area itchy and painful. Alternatively, multiple tiny bumps may appear on the part of the body where there is an insect bite.
- Scarlet fever: This is a type of fever that is accompanied by a sore throat and bright red rash all over the body.
- Psoriasis: This is a chronic skin condition characterized by raised, red, scaly patches most commonly over the elbows, knee joints, and finger joints.
- Acne rosacea: This is a chronic skin condition in which a red rash appears most commonly on your cheeks and around your nose.
When should you see a doctor for your rash?
Although not all rashes are serious, some warrant a visit to the doctor. Such instances include:
- The rash is all over your body
- You have a fever with the rash
- The rash is sudden and spreads rapidly
- The rash begins to blister
- The rash is painful
- The rash begins to ooze out yellow or green fluid (pus) (The rash may be infectious)
- You experience difficulty in breathing
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RASH 101 IN ADULTS: WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/rash/rash-101
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Are Skin Rashes Contagious?Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
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Is Eczema Contagious?Eczema is a skin condition characterized by inflamed, rough skin patches that occasionally produce fluid-filled bumps that may ooze. There is no cure for eczema, though eczema may be treated with moisturization, eczema cream, and topical steroids.
Is Shingles Contagious?Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles symptoms and signs include skin burning, numbness, and tingling along with a painful red, blistering rash. Shingles is contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over.
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What Causes You to Get Shingles?Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Sometimes, in patients with a history of chickenpox, the virus may live in the nervous system for years in an inactive form, and then reactivate as shingles.
What Is the Main Cause of Eczema?The exact cause of eczema is unknown. It is caused due to an overactive immune system that responds aggressively when exposed to triggers.