Skin Rashes: When To See Your Doctor
While many skin rashes can be easily treated with hydrocortisone or another over-the-counter treatment, not all rashes are the same. Some skin rashes can be medically serious and will not go away without medical intervention. They may also be a symptom of a serious underlying medical issue.
Skin rashes can appear very differently, as red blotches, welts, or blisters along the skin. Additionally, rashes can feel itchy, dry, or scaly to the touch. They can be constrained to a single area of the skin or occur all over the body. These variances are important when diagnosing the cause of the rash.
There are times where seeing a physician to properly evaluate and treat the rash is necessary. If you experience any of the following symptoms we recommend immediate medical attention:
- Fever accompanies the rash: Fever signals an infection or potentially a disease such as measles, scarlet fever, shingles, or mononucleosis.
- The rash occurs all over your body: This could signal an underlying issue like a serious allergic reaction or an infection.
- Infection: Scratching an itchy rash can often result in a skin infection. It’s important to see a doctor if you are experiencing the common symptoms of an infection including the expulsion of yellow or green colored fluid, crusting, or feelings of pain or warmth in the affected area.
- Blisters begin to form: Rashes that begin to blister or turn into open sores are signs of an allergic reaction, negative reaction to mediation, or internal medical issue. It’s especially important to seek professional help if blistering occurs around the eyes, within the mouth, or on the genitals.
- Rash suddenly appears and/or rapidly spreads: This is often a symptom of a more serious allergy. Always call 911 if breathing ever becomes difficult.
- You experience pain: Skin rashes that cause any increment of pain should be assessed by a physician.
- Rash is persistent or non-responsive: Visit your doctor if your rash does not react to over-the-counter treatments and continues to persist after 7 days of development. Your rash may need a stronger treatment or could be a symptom of a chronic skin condition such as psoriasis, rosacea or eczema.