Skin rashes can strike at any time, anywhere on the body, and for numerous reasons. And, when they do, it’s easy to want relief as quickly as possible — so why not make a quick run to the drugstore?
The short answer is that over-the-counter medications can indeed treat some types of rashes. However, there are times that you should contact an expert for a thorough skin evaluation because there could be better options.
Our team at Advanced Allergy & Asthma sees skin reactions like rashes and hives regularly. If you have a rash, here are a few common causes and when you should contact a medical professional.
What a rash means
When you develop a rash, an area of your skin becomes irritated or swollen. These reactions can vary from person to person and, depending on the cause, typically appear red, itchy, and painful. Sometimes, they could also grow raw or blister.
The challenge with rashes is that they can indicate several different medical problems, like allergies or eczema. However, they can also occur because of things you come in contact with, medications you take, and even stress, fatigue, and weather extremes. To further complicate things, rashes can appear immediately or over several days, making it harder to identify what triggered your reaction.
Fortunately, many mild rashes respond to at-home care, such as:
- Using a more gentle cleanser
- Avoiding potential irritants, like new detergents, lotions, or cosmetics
- Padding the area dry instead of rubbing
- Use warm water when cleansing, not hot
- Leaving the area exposed to air whenever possible
- Applying calamine for rashes caused by poison ivy, sumac, or oak
In some cases, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or oral antihistamines can soothe mildly irritated skin, too. However, knowing what’s causing your rash is key to finding the best course of treatment.
When at-home solutions aren’t the answer
While you can manage some rashes at home, there are situations when you should contact a medical professional for help.
Some rashes can indicate more serious problems, especially if you:
- Have a severe rash
- Don’t know what triggered your symptoms
- Have a fever, sore throat, or joint pains
- Notice streaks of redness, swelling, or tender areas
- Started taking a new medication
- Have a tick bite
- Didn’t find relief from home care, or your symptoms worsened
Similarly, you should seek emergency medical care if you have facial swelling, throat tightness, shortness of breath, or a purple rash that resembles a bruise.
Getting help for rash
As allergists, our team has advanced training and experience identifying rashes to help get to their underlying cause.
A rash assessment at Advanced Allergy & Asthma typically includes:
- A thorough skin evaluation
- Detailed discussion about your rash, including things you noticed before it occurred
- Skin or blood tests to check for allergies
After determining your rash trigger, we outline a personalized treatment strategy to help provide long-term solutions — for example, allergy management strategies or medications for treating eczema.
You can also rest easy that we provide personalized recommendations to ease your rash symptoms, ranging from cream or oral medications to antihistamines and moisturizing ointments.
We can take the guesswork out of treating skin rashes. Contact Advanced Allergy & Asthma in Ogden, Utah, to schedule a consultation with one of our allergy specialists today.