Is Your Rash Serious? Know the Red Flags to Look Out For


What is a Rash?

  • A rash is a skin condition in which the color, appearance, or texture of the skin changes.
  • Rashes can appear as blotches, redness, bumps, lumps, welts, or blisters.
  • Rashes can be red, itchy, scaly, dry, or weepy, and they can occur in one area of the skin or all over the body.
  • Some rashes may come and go, while others never seem to go away.

Why See a Dermatologist for a Rash?

  • To correctly diagnose a rash, it is best to see a dermatologist.
  • Although most rashes are not life-threatening, some may signal something more serious.
  • If you have a rash and notice any of the following symptoms, see a dermatologist immediately:
    • The rash is all over your body.
    • You have a fever with the rash.
    • The rash appears suddenly and spreads rapidly.
    • The rash is made up of blisters, or the rash turns into open sores.
    • The rash is painful.
    • The rash is infected.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention for a Rash?

  • If the rash is the result of an allergy and breathing becomes difficult, go to the emergency room immediately or call 911.
  • If the blisters affect your eyes, multiple areas in your mouth, or your genitals, go to the emergency room immediately.
  • If you have a rash and you’re having trouble breathing or have swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately.
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Treatment for Rashes

  • A dermatologist is trained to tell which rashes require more extensive medical testing and can properly diagnose the rash and determine the best course for treatment.
  • To find a dermatologist in your area, visit


What causes rashes?

Rashes can have many causes, including infections, allergies, medications, environmental factors, and underlying medical conditions.

How can I prevent rashes?

To prevent rashes, it's important to avoid exposure to potential allergens and irritants, practice good hygiene, and use protective clothing or sunscreens when needed.

How can I treat a rash at home?

Mild rashes can often be treated at home with over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream. However, it's important to see a dermatologist if the rash is severe, painful, or doesn't go away after a few days of home treatment.

Can rashes be contagious?

Some rashes, such as those caused by infectious diseases, can be contagious. However, many rashes are not contagious. It's important to see a dermatologist to determine the cause of the rash and whether it is contagious.

Can rashes be cured?

The treatment and duration of a rash depend on its cause. Some rashes may go away on their own, while others may require medications or other treatments to resolve. It's important to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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