When a Rash Needs Medical Attention

Most people have experienced some type of skin rash in their lifetime. Technically, any degree of inflammation, redness, itching, or blistering is referred to in the medical world as dermatitis. The question that many people have is whether or not a rash needs medical care. This is a meaningful question to ask and one for which the answer relates to various factors. In many cases, a rash will improve on its own or with over-the-counter treatment. However, there are some types of dermatitis that can only be managed with appropriate prescription therapies.

How to Approach a Rash

If you or someone you love has developed a rash, home remedies may be administered as long as:

  • There is no sign of fever.
  • The rash is localized and is not rapidly spreading (rapid onset and spreading requires urgent medical care).
  • There is no sign of infection, such as redness or oozing.
  • The rash is not causing severe pain.

One of the prominent suggestions for treating a common rash is to pamper the skin with a gentle moisturizing. Hot baths and showers should be avoided as this will dry out the epidermis and degrade the skin’s natural protective barrier. Itching may be managed with an over-the-counter antihistamine. All chemicals should be avoided as much as possible. This may mean using soap and shampoo for sensitive skin until the rash improves.

When to see a Dermatologist

A dermatologist is a medical doctor whose post-doctoral education has focused on the hundreds of skin conditions that exist. A dermatologist is an optimal choice for care when a rash is severe or persistent because symptoms may indicate conditions such as atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

Dermatitis is treated based on type and severity. Minor cases of inflammation and itching may respond well to topical steroid medication. More severe dermatitis may require a short course of oral medication in combination with topical steroid cream. Some conditions, such as eczema, respond to treatment but may flare up periodically. Dermatologic care revolves around identifying triggers and managing optimal skin health through lifestyle recommendations and appropriate medical therapies.

Don’t wait to have a concerning rash examined. Call 206-859-5777 today to schedule an appointment in our Renton or Seattle office.

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