Posts for tag: rash
What causes rashes?
There are so many reasons why a rash may surface. Rashes may be the result of a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, or it could be caused by an allergy. Common causes of a rash include,
- Atopic or contact dermatitis
- Pityriasis rosea
- Insect bites and stings
- Poison ivy, oak, or sumac
- Diaper rash
- Lichen planus
- Allergy to a drug/medication
Most rashes are mild, self-limiting, and can be treated on your own without having to turn to a doctor. Some ways to ease a rash and promote faster healing is by,
- Using only gentle cleansers and soaps that do not contain harsh chemicals or fragrances
- Avoiding hot water and only using lukewarm or cold water
- Being gentle when cleansing, bathing, and handling the skin
- Not covering the rash (let it breathe)
- Using only unscented products
- Applying calamine lotion to control itching
- Using hydrocortisone cream to reduce itchiness, swelling, and redness
- Not scratching the rash, as this can lead to an infection
It’s important to recognize when a rash probably requires medical attention. You should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if,
- The rash is widespread and takes over most of your body (this could be a sign of an allergic reaction, which requires immediate attention)
- The rash is spreading quickly and suddenly
- Your rash is accompanied by a fever (this is often a sign of serious infection)
- The rash is painful or contains blisters
- There are signs of infection such as oozing, crusting, or skin that’s warm to the touch
Breaking out in a rash can be concerning, particularly if you don't know what's causing it. Skin rashes are a common issue seen by the doctors at Applegarth Dermatology in Valparaiso, Indiana, with ringworm being one of the main causes. If you're wondering about what's causing your rash, you've come to the right place. Dr William Applegarth and physician's assistant Thomas Sandin delve into the topic of ringworm in this post.
What is ringworm?
Contrary to its name and reputation, ringworm isn't caused by a parasite. It's actually caused by a fungus, the same one responsible for athlete's foot and jock itch. Ringworm, or dermatophytosis, causes a reddened and scaly rash to appear in nickel- or quarter-sized patches on the body. It is annular, or ring-shaped, with the middle section typically left unaffected. It can also develop on the scalp, where it can cause bald patches to develop. Ringworm can be intensely itchy and is very contagious. It's easily spread from person to person as well as by touching animals, particularly cats and cattle, who carry it. It's typically treated with a topical antifungal ointment.
If it's not ringworm, what is it?
There are a few other skin conditions that can mimic the appearance of ringworm. These include granuloma annulare, which produces smooth (rather than scaly rings) of inflammation on the skin, as well as pityriasis rosea, which is thought to be the result of a viral infection. Patches of psoriasis or eczema can also look like ringworm. Because it's often not immediately clear what's causing your rash, it's important to contact your Valparaiso dermatologist when you develop a rash that doesn't clear up on its own in a few days.
Fortunately, ringworm and other skin rashes are easily treatable with the help of your Valparaiso dermatologist. Contact Applegarth Dermatology at (219) 548-0360 for an appointment with Dr. William Applegarth or Thomas Sandin, PA. We also have an office in La Porte, IN which can be reached by calling (219) 362-0161.
You’re Allergic to the Oil from these Plants
Poison ivy secretes an oil known as urushiol. When a person comes in contact with the oils from these plants this causes an allergic reaction. You may notice a rash that forms in a straight line (as if you brushed against a poison ivy leaf). If you suspect that you’ve come into contact with poison ivy, sumac, or oak, it’s important to wash your clothes immediately and to take a shower to prevent the oils from spreading further.
You Can Usually Treat It Yourself
While the rash can be unpleasant, symptoms should go away within 2-3 weeks. Since the rash can be quite itchy and uncomfortable, here are some ways to ease your symptoms:
- Take cool, oatmeal baths to alleviate inflammation and itching
- Apply calamine lotions to the skin to temporarily alleviate itching
- Steroid creams (aka: cortisone cream) may also alleviate redness and inflammation
- Apply cold compresses to the area when symptoms flare-up
- Whatever you do, do not scratch your rash (this can lead to an infection)
Some people have severe allergic reactions when they come into contact with poison ivy, sumac, or oak. You must call your dermatologist as soon as possible if:
- Pus develops on the rash
- You also have a fever over 100 F
- You experience severe itching
- The rash keeps spreading
- You aren’t sure whether the rash is caused by poison ivy, oak, or sumac
- The rash spreads to the mouth or the eyes
- Symptoms don’t improve within a week
Is it time to seek medical attention regarding your rash?
No, not all rashes are the same. This symptom can appear for many reasons and can take many forms, from small itchy welts to widespread blisters. While some rashes may respond to home remedies and cortisone cream it’s also important to know what’s causing your rash and when you should turn to our Valparaiso and LaPorte, IN, dermatologist Dr. William Applegarth.
What Causes Rashes
In order to properly treat a rash it’s typically necessary to understand the root cause. Treating the underlying cause itself can eliminate the rash. Common causes of rashes include,
- Poison ivy or poison oak
- Athlete’s foot
- Diaper rash
In short, rashes may be the result of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. They can also be caused by certain reactions to medications or allergies. Most rashes will go away on their own; however, there are simple measures you can take at home to ease symptoms.
If the rash is itchy you may choose to apply cold compresses to the area and use an over-the-counter cortisone cream, which can alleviate the itch. Oatmeal baths can also provide natural relief. If your rash is due to allergies (hives) taking an antihistamine can also help.
Know When to See a Doctor
Most rashes aren’t anything to worry about; however, sometimes a rash could be a warning sign of a more serious condition. In this case, it’s imperative that you visit our dermatologist here at his Valparaiso, IN, office as soon as possible. These symptoms include,
- A widespread rash that affects most of the body (signs of a serious allergic reaction)
- A fever accompanied by your rash (could be a sign of infection)
- A rash that appears suddenly and spreads quickly
- A rash that contains painful blisters, particularly around the face or genitals
- A painful rash
- An infected rash, which is often characterized by yellow, oozing fluid, crusting, redness and pain
Our dermatologist, Dr. Applegarth, has been providing comprehensive skin care to patients living in and around Valparaiso and La Porte, IN, since 1998. If you are dealing with a severe, painful and worrisome rash, know that the team at Applegarth Dermatology can help. Call (219) 548-0360 for our Valparaiso office, or (219) 362-0161 for our La Porte location.
Rashes will happen to most people at some point during their lifetime, whether it’s from coming in contact with poison ivy while on a camping trip or from an allergic reaction to a skincare product. While most rashes aren’t anything to worry about, we know that the other symptoms that accompany them—redness, itching and burning—can be annoying. Find out the most common causes for rashes and when your rash requires an evaluation from a dermatologist.
What causes a rash?
There are a variety of reasons rashes develop. Your rash could be caused by:
- Contact dermatitis
- Certain medications
- Heat rash
- Viral infections
- Asthma or allergies
- Bug bite
- Poison ivy, oak and sumac
When do you seek medical attention?
Most rashes will go away on their own and won’t require medical attention; however, while all rashes might look the same it’s also important to be able to recognize when a rash is serious enough that it needs to be evaluated by a skin doctor. Since there are so many different things that can cause a rash it’s important to have a proper diagnosis so you know exactly how to treat it.
You should have a rash checked out if:
- It’s all over your body
- It’s accompanied by a fever
- It’s painful
- It’s showing signs of an infection (oozing; warm to the touch; swelling)
- It’s blistering
- It appears suddenly and continues to spread quickly
How do you treat a rash?
The treatment plan your dermatologist creates for you will really depend on the cause of your rash. Sometimes over-the-counter creams such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion can help manage itching and other symptoms until the rash goes away. Oatmeal baths can also be soothing for rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak. While the rash heals, avoid using any products on your skin that contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Try not to cover the rash, as it needs to be able to breathe.
If you do have to come in for an evaluation, we will provide you with the proper medication or treatment necessary to get rid of the root cause of the rash. It’s important that you follow the treatment as prescribed in order to effectively get rid of the rash.