Skin rashes can be a nightmare. They are unattractive, uncomfortable, and unmistakably awful. Sometimes, however, they are unavoidable as well. External factors – such as plants we touch, foods we eat, or medicine we take – can combine with our own biology and lead to rashes on parts of our skin or throughout. The good news is that the burdensome and painful symptoms of most rashes can be resolved or controlled through fairly simple steps.
Three of the most common rashes we see and treat at Dr. Mariano Busso’s Miami dermatology clinic are:
Known in the medical community as Atopic Dermatitis, eczema is a skin disorder that can cause an itchy, red rash. It is a genetic condition which reduces your skin’s ability to retain moisture and protect you from bacteria, irritants, and allergens.
According to the National Eczema Foundation, an estimated 30 million Americans suffer this condition, and while most common in children, it can become an issue for people of all ages.
Eczema is a chronic condition, and there is no cure. However, under the guidance of a qualified medical professional, the symptoms of eczema can be greatly reduced and managed.
Common symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry skin
- Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
- Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
If your eczema is mild, you can minimize its effects by keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated. Use mild soaps and gentle moisturizers, take short, warm showers, and use a humidifier. Stress can make eczema symptoms worse, so try to reduce your stress levels as well. If your symptoms are more severe, your doctor may prescribe medication, creams, or ointments to minimize your symptoms.
Also called urticaria, hives are often itchy welts of varying sizes that can appear on any part of the skin. Acute hives may last less than 24 hours, a few days or a matter of weeks.
Allergies are the most common reasons people experience hives. Other causes include:
- Infections, including colds and infections caused by some bacteria or fungi
- Some illnesses, including a type of vasculitis, lupus, and thyroid disease
- Sun exposure
- Pressure on the skin
- Contact with chemicals
- Scratching the skin
Hives are most effectively treated with medication, such as antihistamines. Or other drugs which can minimize swelling.
Few things can ruin a pleasant day outside more than coming into contact with poison ivy. Poison ivy can cause irritating and painful rashes, of course. But left untreated it can cause much more serious problems that may require emergency medical attention.
Poison ivy is 1 of 3 different rashes that can form after contact with a chemical called urushiol. The other two include poison oak and poison sumac. It may take up to 48 hours for the rash to form after making contact with the stem or leaves of the plant.
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms after your contact with poison ivy, visit the emergency room for immediate treatment:
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble swallowing
- Rapidly spreading rashes that cover most of your body
- Rashes that develop into blisters, or open wounds
- Poison ivy rash spreads to face or genitals
If, however, your symptoms consist of isolated, though very itchy, rashes, the most important thing you can do is what you should not do: scratch your rashes. Don’t do it. Scratching poison ivy can lead to an infection.
Try these home remedies to keep the itch and need to scratch at bay:
- Immediately after exposure, rinse the skin with soap and lukewarm water.
- Wash any clothes you were wearing, along with any other things which may have the plant’s oil on it such as a pet’s fur, gardening tools, and golf clubs.
- Take short lukewarm baths with a product that has colloidal oatmeal or 1 cup of baking soda.
- Take short cool showers.
- Apply calamine lotion.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or lotion.
- Apply cool compresses.
- Antihistamine pills can help reduce itching.
Call Dr. Mariano Busso Today to Get Help With Your Rashes
If you are concerned or bothered about rashes you are experiencing, Dr. Mariano Busso can help. Call his Miami dermatology clinic today at 305-857-0144 to schedule your consultation.