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Do You Need to See a Doctor for That Rash?
  • Posted January 27, 2024

Do You Need to See a Doctor for That Rash?

When should you worry about a rash?

Rashes may look alike, but while over-the-counter medications can treat some rashes, others can signal a more serious condition, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says.

"It is important to watch your symptoms closely at the onset of a new rash,"said Dr. Mallory Abate, a board-certified dermatologist in Baton Rouge, La. "Making note of any changes or new developments are instrumental to determining the severity of the medical condition and if immediate assistance is needed."

One key sign of bigger trouble is if you have a rash that is infected. Evidence of infection might include pus, yellow or golden crusts, pain, swelling, warmth or an unpleasant smell. The skin around an infection might look red, purple or brown, you might feel very hot or cold, have swollen lymph nodes, or a fever.

"If you have a rash and your symptoms are not improving, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist,"Abate said in an AAD news release.

Abate and the AAD recommend people with rashes uses these clues to know when to seek medical attention:

  • A rash over most of your body.

  • A rash that blisters or turns into open sores or raw skin

  • Fever or illness with a rash

  • A rash that spreads rapidly

  • A painful rash

  • A rash involving the eyes, lips, mouth or genital skin

  • If you have trouble breathing or swallowing, or your eyes or lips swell up, emergency medical care may be necessary and should be sought immediately.

More information

Penn Medicine has more on rashes.

SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, January 2024

What This Means for You

Experts offer tips on when to know if a rash is serious.

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