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How to tell if a rash needs medical attention

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A rash is a skin condition in which the color, appearance or texture of skin changes.

Rashes can appear as blotches, redness, bumps, lumps, welts, or blisters. They can be red,

itchy, scaly, dry, or weepy, and they can occur in one area of skin or all over the

body.

In addition, some rashes may come and go, while others never seem to go away.

To the untrained eye, all rashes may look alike and seem easily treatable with over-the-counter

oral antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream.

However, since rashes have many causes, the best way to correctly diagnose a rash is to

see a dermatologist.

Although most rashes are not life-threatening, some may signal something more serious.

If you have a rash and notice any of the following symptoms, see a dermatologist immediately.

The rash is all over your body.

A rash that covers the body usually indicates something more serious, such as an infection

or allergic reaction.

You have a fever with the rash.

If this is the case, seek immediate medical attention.

This could be caused by a serious allergic reaction or an infection.

Examples of rashes caused by infection include scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, and

shingles.

The rash appears suddenly and spreads rapidly.

This could be the result of an allergy.