Causes, types and treatments: An explanation of common rashes
Causes, types and treatments: An explanation of common rashes

Itching, scratching, redness and bumps – rashes are unwelcome and unpleasant. Rashes can often disappear as quickly as they formed, leaving many people wondering exactly what caused them. Thankfully there are some typical traits and precursors for most types of rash.

What causes a rash?

Rashes can be caused by any number of ailments from reactions to the food you eat, the medicine your take or even the laundry powder you use. Rashes are usually a warning sign of an allergy or an infection. When a rash begins to emerge it’s important to see a doctor straight away to ensure it isn’t a viral infection.

Types of rashes

Like the cause of rashes, there are many different types of rash that can appear on the body. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine the most common types of rashes are:

  • Eczema – Infants and young children usually suffer this rash. Unfortunately it’s a hereditary condition, usually passed down from parents who suffered the rash as a child onto their own children.
  • Dermatitis – This form of rash usually includes painful flaking and redness of the skin and can be caused by the skin coming into contact with certain substances both natural and chemical.
  • Drug rashes – This rash is the easiest to identify as it usually emerges after a new medication is introduced into the body. If a rash emerges after taking medication it is especially important to see a doctor immediately.
  • Infection rashes (Erythema Multiforme) – Infections are the key cause of this type of rash. An infection rash is usually a sign of an illness in the body and should be a warning sign to urgently visit a doctor for further treatment.
  • Poison rashes – These rashes emerge after contact with natural or chemical poisons. Plants such as poison ivy cause this type of itching rash.

How to alleviate a rash?

While a doctor is the best source for a diagnosis and potential cure to a rash, there are some things parents and sufferers can do to alleviate the irritation that comes with a rash. Simple tips like keeping your home clean and disinfected, making sure the area around the rash is kept clean and avoiding scratching can help alleviate the pain. Keeping a cool compress on the rash area can help soothe the irritation and urge to itch associated with most types of rashes.

The most important step is seeking professional medical advice as soon as a rash appears.

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