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Top | Acne | Atopic Dermatitis | Acne Scars | Blisters | Dry Skin | Fungal Infections | Ingrown Toenails | Cysts | Lesions of the Skin | Pimples | Lice and Scabies | Birthmarks | Rashes | Skin Cancer


A rash (dermatitis) is any irritation or inflammation of the skin. Rashes can be caused by illness, allergy, or heat, and sometimes by emotional stress. 

Poison ivy and other plant rashes are often red, blistered, and itchy and appear in lines where the leaves brushed against the skin.

When you first get a rash, ask yourself these questions to help determine the cause :

· Did a rash that is contained to a specific area (localized) develop after you came in contact with any­thing new that could have irritated your skin: poison ivy, oak, or sumac; soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, cosmetics, or lotions; jewelry or fabrics; new tools, appliances, latex gloves, or other objects? The location of the rash is often a clue to the cause.

· Have you eaten anything new that you may be allergic to?
· Are you taking any new medica­tions, either prescription or nonprescription?
· Have you been unusually stressed or upset recently?
· Is there joint pain or fever with the rash?
· Is the rash spreading?
· Does the rash itch?

The oil on the leaves of these plants can cause an uncomfortable, itchy, red skin rash with blisters or hives.

· If you are exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, wash your skin with dish soap and water within 30 minutes to get the allergy-causing oil off your skin. This may help prevent or reduce the rash. Also wash your clothes, your dog, and anything else that may have come in contact with the plant.
Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by the reactivation of the chicken-pox virus in the body years after the initial illness. The virus usu­ally affects one of the large nerves that spreads outward from the spine, causing pain and a rash in a band around one side of the chest, abdomen, or face. The rash will blister and scab, then clear up over the course of a few weeks.

No one knows what makes the virus active again. Shingles can affect anyone who has had chick­enpox. However, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get shingles. People with weakened immune systems include those who have had a bone marrow or an organ transplant; have cancer, especially of the lymph system; or are infected with HIV.

Exposure to the shingles rash can cause chickenpox in a person who has not had chickenpox before.

If you suspect shingles, call your doctor or advice nurse to discuss medication that can limit the pain and rash. If possible, call within 1 day after the rash starts, as the medication works best if you start taking it immediately.

· Avoid products that cause the rash:
detergents, cosmetics, lotions, clothing, jewelry, etc.
· Use fragrance and preservative­free or hypoallergenic detergents, lotions, and cosmetics if you have frequent rashes.

Home Treatment
· Wash affected areas with water. Soap can be irritating. Pat dry thoroughly.
· Apply cold, wet compresses to reduce itching. Repeat frequently.
· Leave the rash exposed to the air. Baby powder can help keep it dry. Avoid lotions and ointments until the rash heals. However, calamine lotion is helpful for plant rashes. Use it 3 to 4 times a day.
· Use hydrocortisone cream to pro­vide temporary relief of itching. Use very sparingly on the face and the genital area.

When to Call a Health Professional
· If signs of infection develop:
o Increased pain, swelling, red­ness, or tenderness.
o Heat or red streaks extending from the area.
o Discharge of pus or honey-coloured crust.
o Fever of 37.80C (1000F) or higher with no other cause.
· If you suspect a medication reac­tion caused the rash.
· If a rash occurs with fever and joint pain.
· If a rash occurs with a sore throat. See scarlet fever on page 169.
· If a rash appears and you aren’t sure what is causing it.
· If a rash continues after 2 to 3 weeks of home treatment.


Top | Acne | Atopic Dermatitis | Acne Scars | Blisters | Dry Skin | Fungal Infections | Ingrown Toenails | Cysts | Lesions of the Skin | Pimples | Lice and Scabies | Birthmarks | Rashes | Skin Cancer

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  

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StriVectin Instant Revitalizing Mask (90 ml / 3 floz) Dr Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture with Mega 10 Plus for Eyes (15 ml / 0.5 floz) Bremenn Clinical Strength Smooth Serum (50 ml / 1.7 floz)

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