Rash In Adults: Key Things You Need To Know And Look Out For

Rash In Adults: Key Things You Need To Know And Look Out For

A skin rash is something that most people experience at one point or another in their lives. In many cases, although a rash is itchy or irritating, you will instinctively know that there is nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, at times you may experience a rash and wonder if it is something more serious, that may even require medical attention.

Many times, rashes may look alike and you may believe that they are easily treatable with over-the-counter medicines. In reality, it is not always so simple and a skin rash may signal a more serious condition. Below you will find some key things you need to know about rash in adults and common signs you may experience.

You Have Fever

A fever is a common sign of an infection, during which the body raises its temperature above the normal range to stimulate natural defence mechanisms. A fever, accompanied by a rash could also indicate a range of infections. For example, this could be a sign of herpes, which many people experience through occasional episodes of small and fluid-filled blisters or sores.

If you also have a cough, runny nose, and red eyes, you may have measles. In this case, the rash can last up to 7 days and will appear within 14 days of exposure to the viral infection.

The Rash Area Is Painful

Painful rashes require immediate investigation by a medical professional, as they may be a sign of a more serious infection, such as shingles. This is a painful and blistering rash, caused by a reaction to the chickenpox virus. You can find out more about shingles, including information about symptoms, causes, treatment options, and possible complications.

Patient provides clearly written and easy-to-digest health information, which has been reviewed by a network of doctors and healthcare professionals. As a result, you will get answers to the most common questions asked about shingles and learn what you can do next.

The Rash Is Starting To Blister

Sometimes rashes caused by poison ivy or sun exposure may begin to blister. In general, these rashes heal on their own. However, unless you are certain that your rash was caused by sun exposure or poison ivy, any rash that blisters may indicate a more serious condition and should be examined by a doctor.

The appearance of small and large blisters can be linked to many different infections. A blistering rash can be a sign of shingles, chickenpox, and genital herpes. Another rare, but serious condition that affects the skin in this way is Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which could be potentially life-threatening.

The Rash Is Spreading Rapidly

If a rash is spreading too quickly, you should never ignore it. With many rashes, you may watch the blistering spread before your eyes. For example, a drug rash often starts on the back and chest first before spreading to the arms and legs.

However, another more concerning condition is cellulitis, which is a type of bacterial infection starting as mildly inflamed skin, that rapidly progresses. It may also cause deep redness, warmth, pain, and swelling. As the infection develops, you may notice red streaks, radiating outward, accompanied by blistering or pus-filled bumps.

The Rash Comes On Suddenly

There are many rashes, that may appear suddenly, such as a mosquito bite or heat rash. However, these are usually not a cause for alarm. If the sudden outbreak is severe and widespread, this can often be a sign of a severe drug reaction.

Keep in mind that the faster such an outbreak develops, the more serious the condition is. For example, with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, the look of the rash may be extremely red and painful-looking. The same goes for severe cases of cellulitis. In all of these cases, you will need emergency medical care.

The Rash Covers Your Whole Body

A rash that is all over your body could signal something concerning, such as an infection or an allergic reaction to the environment, food, or medications. Many allergies cause disseminated or widespread rash, but this may also occur with Lyme disease. This is a bacterial infection, that can be transferred to humans by infected ticks.

In some people, the earliest symptom is an oval or circular-shaped rash around a tick bite. Also, people who lack immune defences can also have widespread rash, while others only experience a localised rash.

The Rash Is Swelling Or Bruising

Some skin reactions, such as hives, cause swelling as a result of the accumulation of fluids in the deeper layers of the skin. In most cases, the swelling will resolve on its own with no cause for concern or harm to the tissues.

However, if you experience severe swelling, you will need to seek medical care immediately. This is especially concerning, if swelling occurs on the tongue, face, or throat, all of which could indicate anaphylaxis. Also, a rash accompanied by bruising may be a sign of a more serious condition, called vasculitis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels.

The Rash Is Circular

Although many rashes are round, only a handful cause a circular or coin-shaped rash. This may indicate a type of eczema, called discoid eczema, which often requires medications to resolve. Ringworm rash is another common fungal infection, which may appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp.

Typically, it benefits from treatment with antifungal creams and lotions. A bullseye rash is characteristic of Lyme disease, as well as Erythema multiforme, which is a skin disorder, considered to be an allergic reaction to medicine. It is not usually severe and can be self-limiting, but it can also be a prelude to Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

The Rash Is Infected

Rashes that can break open and burst leave the underlying tissues susceptible to bacterial infections. These types of infections are known as secondary infections, as they occur on top of the primary infection.

People with chickenpox, shingles, herpes, and psoriasis are often vulnerable to this, unless they manage to keep the broken skin clear. The most common signs of a secondary skin infection include increasing redness, swelling, warmth, and pain following the primary outbreak. Additionally, you may experience a pus-like discharge, fever with chills, and a secondary rash.

The Rash Lasts Longer Than A Week

It is a good idea to get any rash that lasts longer than a week looked at by a medical professional. This is because there is likely a reason why your body is having difficulties healing from the rash.

Even if the rash is mild, your doctor can advise you on how to treat it at home. Also, if your rash is causing you significant discomfort, be sure to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist or doctor. Although this may be simple contact dermatitis, it is still advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

You Have Difficulty Breathing

Experiencing a sudden outbreak of a rash or hives, along with shortness of breath is a classic symptom of anaphylaxis. This is a potentially life-threatening and whole-body allergy, that requires immediate medical care. Alongside a rash and difficulty breathing, other symptoms of anaphylaxis include nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heartbeats, dizziness, and swelling.

If not treated immediately, anaphylaxis may result in shock, a coma, suffocation, or even death. Typically, allergies that can produce anaphylaxis include insect stings, foods, and latex. Therefore, if you develop any of these symptoms, it is vital to contact your local accident and emergency services immediately.

About Author

Dana Cull

Dana is a digital content creator with a self-confessed obsession with writing. She is also an avid reader and loves to spend her leisure hours watching documentary films from different directors across the world.