Itchy rash

Skin | Dermatology | Itchy rash (Disease)


An itchy rash is an inflammatory reaction of the skin. An itchy rash is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Itchy rashes differ in severity, frequency and duration depending on the underlying cause. Itchy rashes can appear as blotchy or tiny spots or occur in a large, solid continuous area. In some cases, an itchy rash may include scaling or flaking of skin cells and can ooze clear-colored fluid.

The term rash has no precise meaning but often is used to refer to a wide variety of skin disorders. In normal conversation, 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. Then, other characteristics of the rash are noted.

Causes and Risk factors

An itchy rash can indicate a relatively mild and easily treated condition, such as irritant contact dermatitis or ringworm (a fungal infection of the skin). An itchy rash can also result from viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and insect bites.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you know the rashes are not caused by infectious organisms, it is reasonable to attempt to treat them with over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream for a week or so prior to seeking medical attention.

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 small listing of the possible diseases to be considered. Below is a short discussion of some common categories of skin rashes:

Noninfectious, common rashes localized to a particular anatomical areas

Widely distributed rashes affect large portions of the skin. Although most rashes are seldom signs of immediate impending doom, self-diagnosis is not usually a good idea. Rashes that quickly resolve are generally not dangerous. Proper evaluation of a skin rash requires a visit to a doctor or other health-care professional. ...

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