Rashes can be, according to their causes and severity: annoying, distressing, painfully uncomfortable or life-threatening. For this reason, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced dermatologist if you have broken out with a rash that is intense, worsening, lasts for more than a short time. Recurring rashes should also be examined by a well-trained professional dermatologist. If you are located in or near Valrico, Florida, you are in luck because the office of Dr. Harvey-Dent at Unique Dermatology and Wellness Center is easily accessible to you. Dr. Harvey-Dent understands the serious emotional impact of cosmetic problems. She has helped a great many patients during her 15 years in private practice and has a glowing myriad of testimonials to her medical, cosmetic and empathic skills.
Causes of Rashes
There are a great many possible causes of rashes, some benign and some more significant, some contagious and some not. Many mild rashes will resolve on their own, but others require home remedies, topical or oral medication, light therapy, or ongoing treatment of an underlying disease condition. Distinguishing rashes is a job for a highly competent dermatologist since rashes may be caused by:
Environmental factors – Rashes can result from irritation or allergies to food, plants, fabrics or medications. They can also be caused by insect bites, parasites or heat. Examples of environmental rashes are:
- Prickly heat
- Poison ivy or poison oak
- Insect bites
- Hives as a reaction to a fabric, plant, medication or chemical
You may also develop hives due to an allergy to animal dander, a food additive, an ingredient in a cosmetic or cleaning product, or even simply from acute stress.
Childhood Diseases that may also affect adults, include:
- Chicken pox
- Fifth disease (“slapped cheek” disease)
- Scarlet fever
- Coxsackie virus
The above-mentioned diseases are all contagious.
Chronic Skin Conditions that some people are prone to include:
Internal Diseases – Rashes can be symptoms of underlying systemic conditions. The diseases include:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Addison’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Thyroid malfunction
- Lyme disease (transmitted by ticks)
Medication Reactions – patients can have idiosyncratic skin reactions to:
- Antifungal drugs
- Narcotic pain medications
- Just about any medication
Diagnosing Skin Rashes is not a do-it-yourself project. Unless you have a chronic condition that has been previously diagnosed and occasionally flares up, you need to be seen by Dr. Harvey-Dent so she can evaluate your skin by examining the appearance of the rash and, if necessary, performing a biopsy or other skin test. If she believes that your rash may be evidence of an underlying disease or systemic condition, she will refer you to the appropriate specialist for further consultation.
Complications of Skin Rashes
Rashes and the itching and discomfort that often accompanies them can affect your quality of life, making it hard to concentrate and equally difficult to relax. In addition to this seemingly inescapable torment, prolonged itching most often leads to frequent scratching which typically only makes the situation worse, intensifying the sensation and possibly leading to:
- Skin injury
- Bacterial infection
- Low self-esteem
Treatment of Rashes
Each rash should be treated according to its underlying cause, but there are a number of treatments that may help the itching rashes often precipitate. To relieve itching temporarily either before or after your rash has been diagnosed, you may use:
Home Remedies like avoiding allergens or triggers, applying cold packs, taking tepid showers or oatmeal baths, avoiding overly warm clothes or rooms, applying anti-itch products like calamine lotion or mentholated cream. Topical anesthetics or oral antihistamines often help relieve itching and calm the intensity of rashes.
Prescribed Medications are likely to be necessary if the rash is more severe. Dr. Harvey-Dent can prescribe corticosteroid creams or other topical ointments and may apply wet dressings to the problem area. When a rash is really terrible, she may prescribe oral cortisone for a short period. Certain antidepressants, such as Prozac and Zoloft, may also help to reducing the itch of a rash that results from a chronic condition.
Treating the Underlying Disease will be necessary if Dr. Harvey-Dent discovers that your rash is not primarily a dermatological problem. In such cases, she will refer you to the specialist you need, such as a rheumatologist, endocrinologist or nephrologist.
Prone to Rashes? Call on Dr. Harvey-Dent
Though some people get a single rash from a particular exposure to an allergen, toxin, or because of a one-time episode of illness, many patients seem to be prone to such disorders. Whether you deal with chronic skin rashes or are just dealing with one especially intractable rash, a visit to Unique Dermatology & Wellness Center is in order. You can reach us by phone or email, or by filling out a contact form on our website.