It Can Be Difficult to Differentiate Some of the Many Common Skin Rashes

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As the largest organ on the human body, the skin is vulnerable to many conditions.

In fact, several millions of Americans deal with at least one skin condition in their lifetime. With many types of skin rashes, it can be difficult to guess which one is the culprit just by looking at it. This is especially true because a lot of them present similar symptoms. In some cases, skin rashes are a warning sign of a more serious underlying health condition.

For some individuals, having certain skin rashes pose a threat to their everyday quality of life. For people with contagious rashes, their flare ups put others at risk. Luckily, there are ways to get skin rash symptoms under control. For instance, it’s important to diagnose the skin rash and find the appropriate solution. Of course, self diagnosis isn't as efficient as visiting a dermatologist. However, here is a list of common skin rashes and the symptoms to look out for. `

1 - Rosacea

Often mistaken for acne, rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that causes redness. Although it’s not as common as acne, rosacea can affect up to 20% of people, with the majority of patients being female. Because of the common misdiagnoses, there may be even more cases. For the most part, people aren't diagnosed until they reach 30. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for rosacea, but there are ways to control the symptoms. Common remedies include skin creams, antibiotics, laser treatment and avoiding the triggers that cause flare ups. Since there are multiple forms of rosacea, a doctor will need to provide the right plan. 

2 - Hives

Hives are a histamine reaction that causes raised welts. Generally, hives occur after a viral infection or because of an allergic reaction. Usually, hives disappear by the next day. In severe cases, they can last for weeks. Hives can disappear without medical intervention. However severe hives sufferers may need to take an antihistamine to relieve their symptoms. If over-the-counter antihistamines aren’t enough to get rid of them, some doctors recommend stronger antihistamines or anti-inflammatory medication.

3 - Shingles

Shingles are a painful, irritating rash that usually occurs because of a viral infection. While an outbreak can occur anywhere on the body, it often appears on either side of the torso. This rash is caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox. Common symptoms include:

  • A painful burning or tingling sensation
  • Numbness
  • Blisters filled with fluids that crust over after eruption
  • Pain that lingers even after the rash fades away
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity

Depending on where the pain is, some people mistake their shingles symptoms for organ problems. While shingles aren’t usually life-threatening, there are situations where emergency care is essential. These include:

  • Pain or a rash surrounding the eyes
  • An outbreak for patients with a weaker immune system
  • A shingles outbreak for sufferers over 60 years old
  • Widespread rash with unbearable pain

In addition to following these precautions, it’s also recommended to stay away from people who aren’t immune to chickenpox. These people are vulnerable to developing chickenpox if they come in contact with the rash during an outbreak.

4 - Eczema

The tchnical term is atopic dermatitis, though everyone refers to it as eczema. It is a skin condition that causes itchiness and irritation. Eczema is most common in children, however, every age group is vulnerable to developing this rash. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that flares up periodically. Although there isn’t a cure yet, there are some at-home care methods that help control eczema symptoms. These include:

  • Regularly moisturizing the skin
  • Take shorter showers with warm water
  • Avoid triggers like sweat, pollen, stress, and allergens
  • Pat-dry after bathing or showering
  • Use mild products (lotion, soap, etc.) on the skin