The most common symptom of a rash is itchiness. You may also notice redness on the skin, changes in skin texture, and raised areas or bumps. Other symptoms will depend on the nature of the rash and may include:
- Dry skin
- Scales on the skin
- Crusty skin
- Changes in skin texture such as leatheriness or roughness
- Blisters (clear bumps full of fluid)
Rashes occur as the result of a trigger (allergen, temperature, infection, medication, or in some cases, an unknown trigger), which prompts the body to release histamine and other chemical messengers into the skin.
The skin’s response is to open up the blood vessels, which is what causes the red or pinkish colouring, and to release fluid into the tissues, which leads to swelling and itchiness.
The main causes of a rash are:
- Allergic reaction, e.g. to a food allergen, or insect bite
- Exposure to cold or heat
- Infection – such as cold or flu
- Medications, e.g. over-the-counter painkillers (NSAIDs) or antibiotics
- Unknown trigger
What to do next
We have a team of doctors specialising in dermatology who can give you a proper diagnosis and advise on the best methods of treatment. Make an appointment to see us today, either using our online booking form or by giving us a call.
Ideally, no. Scratching a rash can make it worse or spread the irritant that has caused the rash in the first place.
Yes. Most rashes are mild but some can lead to more severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, fever, disorientation, and nausea or vomiting. The doctor can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your rash.
If your rash is caused by an environmental irritant, it will not be contagious (unless you have poison oak, which can be spread to others if the plant’s oil is still on your skin or clothes). Many rashes are contagious, however. See a doctor to determine the cause of your rash.