Everyone deals with rash problems. Some are caused by allergies, viral, fungal, and bacterial infections, and certain environmental conditions, while others can be symptoms of more serious diseases.
Most types of skin rashes are caused by reactions to allergens (such as chemicals, foods, fabrics, nickel, latex, animal dander, plant fibers and medications) that touch the skin or are ingested in our bodies. Such conditions include Contact Dermatitis, Eczema (or Atopic Dermatitis), and Hives (or Urticaria). These rashes appear red, swollen, scaly, and blistered, depending on the severity.
VIRAL, BACTERIAL, AND FUNGAL RASHES
When infections manifest as rashes, the common culprits are viral, fungal and bacterial infections.
Shingles produces painful blistered skin in older people, which break and leave behind superficial ulcers that dry and form crusts. It is caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.
Fifth Disease, common in small children, starts out as a rash and is caused by a respiratory virus. It appears as a bright red rash on the cheeks at first, then a lacy rash on the arms and trunk later on, accompanied by fatigue, fever, sneezing, and coughing.
Impetigo, also common in children, is from a bacterial infection in the top layers of the skin. It appears as red sores that turn into blisters, ooze, and then crust over.
Ringworm is a skin rash caused by a fungus that is known to be contagious. These are itchy, red, scaly, slightly raised, expanding rings on the trunk of the body, face, groin or thigh fold.
Intertrigo, or Jock Itch (yeast infection), is a rash in body folds caused by fungus. It occurs in warm, moist areas where skin rubs or presses together, such as the underarms, groin, abdominal folds, or under the breasts. The rashes appear pink or red and are slightly raised, and in severe cases, the skin may crack and bleed.
Tinea Versicolor, also caused by a fungal infection, describes patches of abnormally light skin, surrounded by skin of normal color.
Other rashes are simply caused by conditions that irritate our skin.
Prickly Heat, also known as heat rash (miliaria), is a common rash caused by sweat retention in hot, humid, tropical weather. It is more common in children and infants due to their underdeveloped sweat glands.
Rosacea looks like acne, causing redness to the face, producing small, red, pus-filled bumps or pustules. It usually affects older people, especially if they have lightly pigmented skin. The condition is attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Psoriasis is also a hereditary condition that can occur at any age. It causes thick silvery scales over pink or purplish areas on the joints and along the scalp or back. They are dry, itchy red patches that can get very painful.
Some rashes suggest a more serious illness. A Butterfly Rash over the cheeks and the bridge of the nose can be a sign of lupus. And Purpura, which are small red or blue spots or dots that don’t lose their color when pressed, represent bleeding underneath the skin.
DON’T RASH-ONALIZE THE PROBLEM
Never underestimate a rash. Some rashes go away and some turn out to be chronic. When the rash itches, reddens, swells, and leaves the most embarrassing marks on our skin, they become a nuisance. But whatever rash you may have, avoid scratching it, as not to aggravate the condition. It is always best to see your doctor today.