Distinguishing Different Types Of Skin Rashes

Everyone, at one time or another, breaks out with some kind of rash. Rashes can be caused by many different kinds of things and many of them are very distinguishing. Read on to find out the most common, and how to identify and treat them.

The skin, like our cardiovascular or gastrointestinal, is a body system. It is known as the integumentary system and it is your body's first line of defense against disease. It is the body's largest organ and it serves this function of defense. The skin also controls the temperature of the body. The skin is made up of three layers, the top layer, the epidermis, the middle layer, the dermis and the bottom layer is called subcutaneous tissue. There are many things that can occur on the skin, one of which is a rash.

Everyone, at one time or another breaks out with some kind of rash. Rashes can be caused by many different kinds of things and many of them are very distinguishing. A rash can be defined as any spots or red markings that appear on the skin, which is often itchy. There are many different types of skin rashes. People develop rashes for different reasons, but usually it is due to an allergic reaction to something, either by direct contact or by ingesting something that the person in allergic to. Also rashes can be symptoms of certain diseases, such as chicken pox, measles or scarletina.

One such is known as dermatitis. Dermatitis is a form of skin inflammation or swelling. Symptoms of dermatitis include redness and inflammation of the skin, usually localized. The red area may form tiny blisters that leak clear fluid, and then become crusty. There is also severe itching. This is probably the worst part about a rash. There are actually many different kinds of dermatitis. Exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac is an example of contact dermatitis because a rash due to an allergic reaction develops as a result of direct contact to the skin. Other common causes of contact dermatitis include allergic reaction to wearing certain jewelry such as nickel, wearing certain perfumes, using certain makeups, shampoos, detergents for your clothes, household cleaners or solvents,etc. It is important for you to know what you are allergic to and best dealt with by avoiding the things that you are allergic to. Sometimes someone doesn't know they are allergic to something until they develop the rash, and stumble upon it by accident. It can take up to a day or two to develop the rash, so remember what you have been exposed to. Contact dermatitis can usually be treated at home with antihistamines, such as benadryl, orally and topically, such as hydrocortisone creams. Use as directed. If it gets worse or doesn't' clear up, see your doctor.

Atopic dermatitis is a general rash that is caused by ingesting certain foods, such as, eggs, fish, peanuts, seafood, or milk. If you think a rash is caused by a certain food, try taking it out of the diet until the rash is cleared then slowly reintroduce it. If the rash develops again, chances are, it is a food allergy.

Other things that can cause a rash are medications. If rash develops after taking a certain medicine, such as a prescribed antibiotic, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Allergies to insect stings can also cause rashes and swelling. Once you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, such as a hornet, it is possible to become even more sensitive to the sting, making the next sting you get even worse to where it could cause more swelling, even generalized swelling and possibly breathing difficulty. Talk to your doctor about wearing a medical alert bracelet and possibly the need for premeasured syringes of epinephrine that can be self-injected for emergencies.

Treatment of most rashes can be done at home. Often a person goes to the doctor with an unidentifiable rash and the doctor may prescribe mild steroidal treatment, such as prednisone. The most important thing is not to scratch, as hard as that may be. Also keeping the skin slightly moisturized with a mild hypoallergenic moisturizer, that is fragrance and odor free. Avoid hot showers and baths, as this tends to aggrivate the rash and make it itch more. Use mild soaps and nonabrasive sponges. Avoid scratchy or itchy or overly warm clothing. Dress cool and light in breathable fabrics like cotton.

Complications can occur with rashes, such as a mosquito bite being scratched and bacteria can invade it, causing imetigo, also known in layman's terms as indian fire. If blisters or pus forms, the rash gets worse instead of better, or if fever develops, see your doctor. There is probably a secondary bacterial infection such as staph, and you may require antibiotic treatment.

Other rashes or diseases that involve a rash include the following:

-Impetigo: is a very contagious bacterial, streptococcal infection that needs antibiotic treatment from a doctor. There is a rash that has small-crusted sores.

-Hives: also known medically as Urticaria. Hives are very itcy. They are small red round disc-like areas over the body. They range in size from a dime to a saucer. Hives are a result of an allergic reaction to just about anything such as certain foods, sunlight, medicine, insect bite or sting, heat and more, depending on the person. Some common triggers are chocolate, seafood, and strawberries.



-Psoriasis: the cause unknown but it is hereditary and can occur at any age. It causes thick scaled-over pinkish or purplish areas on the elbows, neck, knees, scalp or back. Stress and illness can make them reappear or worsen. Sometimes arthritis in the rash areas can occur. There is no cure.

-Prickly Heat: this occurs when sweat glands get blocked and sweat is trapped under the skin. Symptoms are itching, redness of the skin and tiny blisters. It's most common in hot humid weather. Anyone can develop it and it usually only lasts a few days. When the skin is cool and dry, it will disappear.

-Ringworm: is a circular rash with a raised border. It is usually just one and it is causes by a fungal infection, not by a worm. It can occur anywhere on the body and anyone can get one. Ringworm is contagious. Dogs and cats can be carriers. There are over-the-counter medications for ringworm, but see your doctor if it gets worse or spreads or occurs on the scalp which can cause hair loss.

-Rosacea: most common in women and people with fair complexions, appears as a flushed appearance on the face, almost like acne. It is also called adult acne. Some believe alcohol and spicy food aggrivate the condition. Vitamin deficiency or weakened immune system may also play a part. Treatment by your doctoc may include, antibiotics, prescribed soaps and washes and even new laser treatents.

-Fifth's disease: characterized by a bright red rash on the cheeks at first, then a lacy rash on the arm sand trunk later. Other symptoms include fatigue and low grade fever, sneezing and coughing, occurring primarily in small children. It starts with the rash and is caused by a respitory virus. It is contagious. It usually last about a week.

-Seborrhea: reddish scaling on the head and even on the face around the eyebrows. It is usually itchy. This is cradle cap in an infant. It's a form of dermatitis. There is no specific cause but may be hereditary. Selenium sulfide shampoo is used for treatment on the head. Prescription corticosteroid creams are used as well.

-Shingles: is caused by herpes zoster virus. It is very painful. It usually affects elderly or those with weakened immune systems. The rash follows a nerve path, usually around the abdomen or the ear. There is a red blistering rash in a line with intense burning and pain.

-Chicken pox: the symptoms of chicken pox are fever, cold symptoms, fatigue and a very itchy rash that looks like a bunch of pox or spots all over the body. They turn into blisters then burst and scab. The varicella zoster virus, the same one that causes shingles, causes it. It is highly contagious spread by droplets from the nose and mouth. Fever and aches appear a few days before the rash breaks out. Possible complications include pneumonia and encephalitis. Chicken pox occurs mostly in children although adults can who never had it as children can get it.

-measles: the symptoms of measles include cold-like symptoms, cough, sore throat, high fever, and a red rash starting on the face and moving down the body. It is a highly contageous viral infection. It begins with a fever and sore throat, then after about two to four days starts with the rash on the face.

-Scarlet fever or Scarletina: symptoms include sore throat, fever, and bright red rash that begins around the neck and trunk and spread over the body. After the illness is over, the skin flakes or desquamates. It is caused by the strep bacterium that first invades the tonsils causing sore throat and fever. The tongue becomes swollen and cherry red. Antibiotics are needed.

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