Knowing your Skin - Rashes and Skin Care
Skin irritants are pretty common for most people. Just about everyone at some point has gotten a case of poison oak or other plant-related itchy rash. There is nothing worse than itching and then having to slather yourself with pink calamine lotion and wait it out without scratching yourself to bits. What most people don’t realize is that your skin is the first point of defense. Because the skin acts as a defense barrier, it is quick to produce an adverse reaction when it comes into contact with something your body does not like. In most cases, there is little cause for alarm. Aside from the discomfort, common skin irritants are usually not serious in nature and easily treated.
Causes of Mild Rashes Common skin irritants are found in just about everything. They can include household detergents, soaps, fabrics, plant-life, fragrances, and environmental factors. These are known as producing what is referred to as contact dermatitis. Another common cause for rashes is a bug bite such as mosquitos or fleas. If there is an existing allergy, the reaction may be a little more exaggerated.
Heat has also been known to produce what is referred to as a heat rash. Heat rashes normally fade when the skin cools down. Other potential culprits may just be very sensitive skin due to medications or a compromised immune system.
Treating Your Rash at Home In most cases, a rash will go away on its own and is easily treated at home with over-the-counter remedies such as:
• OTC Hydrocortisone • OTC allergy medicines (antihistamines) • Ice • Moisturizing lotions • Anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen)
Common Symptoms of Rash and Skin Irritants Mild rashes typically give off a red appearance and are tad itchy. Occasionally, there may be slight inflammation or a bumpy feel to your skin. They can vary in size making it easy to identify as contact dermatitis versus a food allergy. If it is contact dermatitis, the area is typically isolated to the area of the body that came in contact with something it didn’t like.
A food allergy will produce an all-over the body effect and the rash may be more wide-spread. Sometimes, food allergies will also cause swelling of the mouth, throat, and eyes making them very dangerous. It is always wise to consult a physician if you suspect a more serious reaction due to a food allergy.
When to Call the Doctor Most rashes can be treated easily, but in some situations, you may need the help of a doctor. Serious rashes could indicate the presence of more severe health conditions or infections such as Shingles, Mononucleosis, or Psoriasis.
Some warning symptoms that indicate a more serious rash are:
• Rashes that present with persistent fever • Rashes that blister or worsen over time • Rashes that spread over one or two areas of the body • Rashes that cause intense pain and discomfort • Rashes accompanied by aches and or limited mobility • Rashes that present with welts, lesions, and oozing green or colored pus
In cases such as these, consulting a doctor is the best thing to do to avoid serious health complications. You can do so form the comfort of your own home, by reaching out to the RingMD care team.