Common Skin Rashes

The skin is the first line of defense for the immune system of our body. So adverse reactions on the skin are often an indication that the immune system has kicked in. A lot of bodily reactions to bacterias and viruses are manifested on the skin first as common skin rashes. Eczema, rosea, heat rash, granuloma annulare and lichens are some of the common ones.
In the United States alone, approximately 5.7 million doctor visits are on account of contac t dermatitis (skin related infections).
We will be discussing the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of some of the common skin rashes.

Common Skin Rashes

1. Eczema

In eczema the skin becomes red, swollen, scaly and itchy. Atopic Dermatitis is a common form of eczema.

Cause
  • It is mostly caused from allergies to food and other environmental elements.
  • It could also be inherited from family members.
  • Emotional instability like excessive stress, anger, grief can give rise to this skin disease.
  • Exposure to microwave radiation can cause eczema.
  • Foods which are exogenous sources of histamine like tomatoes, certain cheeses, sausages, egg plant can also lead to eczema.
  • Prolonged exposure to atopical ointments can also worsen the situation.
Symptoms:
  • Eczema appears on hands, elbows and back of knees.
  • In children, it may appear on face, neck and scalp too.
  • Skin becomes dry, itchy, scaly and red due to persistent itching.
  • Sometimes blisters may develop with contagious fluid inside and spread to the surrounding areas.
Treatment:
  • Visiting a skin specialist to detect the cause of the skin infection is very important.
  • Elimination of the allergen is extremely important to stop symptoms from recurring.
  • Topical corticosteroids can be used to help with itching and inflammation.
  • Oral medications like antihistamines and decongestants can also improve the situation.
  • Phototherapy with ultraviolet light can also give effective results.
Prevention:
  • If the allergen causing it is detected, it would be wise to stay away from it.
  • Food based allergens can be made less potent by treating , processing and cooking them.

Rosea

2. Rosea

Rosea is a milder skin rash and appears as a pink patch on the skin. The pink patches are accompanied by swelling and progressive lesions.

Cause:
  • Rosea is often caused by viral infections. It is not contagious.
Symptoms:
  • It most often follows an upper respiratory tract infection. In as many as 69% of patients, this occurrence has been confirmed.
  • A single red oval patch typically measuring between 2 to 10 cm appears on the abdomen. It is known as the Herald Patch.
  • 7-14 days after the herald patch, large patches of pink, scaly oval shaped rash appear on the torso. Smaller rashes may appear on the back and neck within a few days.
Treatment
  • Physical examination by the physician may involve blood tests, skin scraping followed by biopsy for accurate diagnosis.
  • Rosea usually self heals and does not need any medication.
  • Oral medications like anti histamines may provide relief.
  • Severe cases may need hyrdrocortisone creams.
  • Ultraviolet light treatment is also useful.
Prevention:
  • Apart from maintaining personal hygiene, there is not much any one can do as the causes are mostly viral in nature and sometimes not definitely known.

Granuloma Annulare

3. Granuloma Annulare

This condition is characterized by reddish bumps on skin forming a circular pattern like that of a ring. It affects girls more than boys and is more common among children and young teens.

Cause:
  • Definite cause is unknown but, seen widely in patients having diabetes and thyroid disease.
Symptoms
  • The rash appears mostly on the forearm, hands and feet.
  • It could be without any symptoms for a long time.
  • The rash could be itchy and appears in a circle.
Treatment:
  • The doctor usually performs a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
  • The rash can disappear by itself.
  • Oral pills and phototherapy can give effective results.
  • Liquid nitrogen can be used to treat the bumps so that the bumps do not leave behind scars.
Prevention:
  • There is no such prevention, but consult the doctor immediately when symptoms appear.

Lichen Planus

4. Lichen Planus

It is a skin condition that appears between the age of 30 and 70 years. The disease is manifested as a skin rash coupled with lesions. The disease gets its name from the appearance of the skin during the rash.

Cause:
  • Its origin is also not definitely known, but may be caused by certain medications or appear with certain diseases.
  • Medications of arthritis, heart disease and hypertension are known to cause it.
  • It could be caused by Hepatitis C.
Symptoms:
  • Flat bumps which have a red and purplish hue appear on the insides of the wrist, ankles, back, scalp and neck.
  • They may also appear inside the mouth, genital area and nail beds.
Treatment
  • Oral medications like anti histamines and steroids can provide relief.
  • Oral and topical steroids are also prescribed depending on the severity of the situation.
  • Retinoids and other topical creams may bring relief upon application.
  • Phototherapy is also tried as a line of treatment from time to time.
Prevention:
  • There is as such no other ways of preventing it except for being aware of the medications causing it.

Heat rash

5. Heat Rash

It is caused by heat as it causes the body to produce excess sweat. The germs and dirt on the surface of the skin clog the pores and cause the sweat to remain trapped in the uppermost skin layer. It causes mild inflammation along with the appearance of reddish bumps. These are also called Prickly Heat.

Cause:
  • Heat triggering the sweat glands to produce excess sebum and clogging the pores on the skin.
Symptoms
  • Red bumps like rashes.
  • Rashes tend to itch.
  • Mild inflammation in the area along with a prickly feeling.
  • In case of babies, being fussy can be an indication.
Treatment
  • They generally do not need any treatment and disappear on their own.
  • In case of a festering infection, antibiotics are needed to be administered.
Prevention
  • Keeping the body clean and cool is the foremost prevention strategy.
  • Wearing light cotton loose fitting clothes can help to keep the excess sweat at bay.
  • Taking bath regularly and drying oneself well is also very important to keep away heat rash.

Above are a few of the common skin rashes. If you identify with any of the given symptoms, contact your physician at the earliest. It will save you a lot of suffering.