A rash is defined as a widespread eruption of skin lesions. It is a very broad medical term. Rashes can vary in appearance greatly, and there are many potential causes. Because of the variety, there is also a wide range of treatments.
A rash can be local to just one small part of the body, or it can cover a large area. Rashes come in many forms. They can be dry, moist, bumpy, smooth, cracked, or blistered; they can be painful, itch, and even change color.
Rashes affect millions of people across the world; some rashes may need no treatment and will clear up on their own, some can be treated at home; others might be a sign of something more serious.
There are a number of potential causes of rashes, including allergies, diseases, reactions, and medications. They can also be caused by bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infections.
One of the most common causes of rashes – contact dermatitis – occurs when the skin has a reaction to something that it has touched. The skin may become red and inflamed, and the rash tends to be weepy and oozy. Common causes include:
dyes in clothes
poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and sumac
chemicals, such as latex or rubber
Certain medications can cause rashes in some people; this may be a side effect or an allergic reaction. Also, some medications, including some antibiotics, cause photosensitivity – they make the individual more susceptible to sunlight. The photosensitivity reaction looks similar to sunburn.
Infections by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can also cause a rash. These rashes will vary depending on the type of infection. For instance, candidiasis, a common fungal infection, causes an itchy rash that generally appears in skin folds.
It is important to see a doctor if an infection is suspected.
An autoimmune condition occurs when an individual’s immune system begins to attack healthy tissue. There are many autoimmune diseases, some of which can produce rashes.
For instance, lupus is a condition that affects a number of body systems, including the skin. It produces a butterfly-shaped rash on the face.
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