A rash is a skin disorder that may appear over a small area of the body or it may be widely spread over various large areas or even over the entire skin of the body. Wherever it appears, a rash typically causes the skin to alter as it acquires a different coloring, a different feel and a different texture.
On the one hand, a rash may be a medical condition in and of itself as it is related to no other physiological malady in the body. On the other hand, a rash may be a mere symptom of an existing infirmity in which case it helps with the diagnostic process.
Possible Symptoms of a Rash
The symptoms of a rash are as wide and varied as are the diseases or disorders they accompany. Below is a list of the most common among them:
- The appearance of small inflamed red bumps which are sore to the touch and some may be filled with pus. They are most often found on the face, chest and back during an acne flare-up.
- Itchy or burning red bumps or swellings appear as a reaction to insect bites.
- Asymmetric red sores which are either raised above the skin or remain flat that appear anywhere on the body as an allergic reaction to irritants such as foods, medications, chemicals and so on.
- Large bruises or small red dots appearing anywhere on the skin as a consequence of taking specific medications — allergic purpura.
- Large dark red bumps which are raised and extremely itchy such as during a hives breakout. They tend to appear suddenly and may affect just about any part of the body.
- Scaly, toughened, reddened and oily swellings which tend to be itchy or tender are known as irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis. These are most frequently found one the eyebrows, nose and edges of the scalp as well as where the skin comes in contact with clothing or jewelry.
- Sensitive, swollen and flushed area of the skin surrounding a cut or a scrape such as evident during cellulitis.
- Extremely itchy red bumps which are accompanied by fever and/or sore throat during a measles episode. It most frequently begins with the forehead and then expands downwards.
- Painful, itchy, reddened and inflamed blisters along with fever, cough, sore throat and body aches such as during chickenpox. Its first appearance is usually on the face and then it continues to spread down to the rest of the body.
- Severely painful and crusted red blisters appear anywhere with a condition known as shingles.
- Silvery white and scaly bulges on top of reddened irritated patches which usually appear on the elbows and knees in patients with psoriasis.
- Smooth reddening or flushing of the skin on the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead appears with rosacea.
- A single large red lump or clusters of small red lumps which are painful boils and may appear anywhere on the body.
- Scaly dryness on a baby’s head that is known as cradle cap.
- Swollen and painful bumps appearing near or around glands in conditions known as seborrheic dermatitis.
Causes of a Rash
As alluded in the section above, a rash may be the result of a huge assortment of causes but the most common among them are allergies and irritants; microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria or fungi; hormonal changes; other skin conditions, disorders and injuries; chaffing; poisons or pollutants; autoimmune disorders; and emotional troubles such as anxiety or stress.
Treating a Rash
The first rule about treating any rash is by avoiding any kind of contract with it. Scratching or rubbing a rash may cause it to spread further or to become infected.
The subsequent rules about treating any rash are to deal with its symptoms of itching, pain and dryness. Bathing the affected area with cool water or oatmeal washes and applying soothing substances such as chamomile tea, calamine lotion, corticoid cream and antihistamine ointment may prove to be effective topical treatments. If the rash is due to dry skin or if the rash has become dry and cracking, applying aloe vera, vitamin E or olive oils are good natural restorative oils.
Supplementing topical treatments with oral antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs will add extra measures of relief while the rash goes through its innate cycle and then subsides into oblivion.