How Can You Tell If a Skin Rash Is Serious?

skin rashAn itchy red bump comes out of nowhere and now you’re wondering if this mystery bump will go away on its own, if you can treat it with some ointment from your local convenience store, or if this is something you need to take to a doctor…

The term “rash” refers to the inflammation or discoloration that changes your skin’s normal appearance.  Rashes can come in many forms, and oftentimes can present a challenge determining the difference of an uncomfortable skin condition or major concern.

A range of ailments can cause the skin to breakout in red blotches, blisters, or welts, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Poison ivy or oak
  • Fungal infections
  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections

Most skin rashes are not life-threatening and can be treated with over-the-counter ointments.  The most important rule to keep in mind for seeking medical attention for skin rashes is if the rash is accompanied by other symptoms.

When you’re not feeling like your normal self and your rash has not subsided over a few days, you should visit your primary care provider or urgent care center or dermatologist to help you triage whether the rash needs a prescribed treatment.  Depending upon the appearance of the rash, it could be a warning sign of a serious medical problem, such as Lyme disease.

Some signs that your rash needs to be looked at by a physician include:

If you have a fever or pain accompanying the rash.  It could be a sign that you have an infection, or that you’re experiencing an allergic reaction.

If your rash is widespread.  Rashes that spread throughout your body can be a sign of an allergic reaction.

If your rash develops a circular shape.  Rashes from tick bites are known for having a bull’s eye appearance that indicates Lyme disease.

If your rash starts to blister.  For rashes that start to blister, it could be a sign that you came in contact with poison ivy, or something more serious.

If your rash turns color.  Rashes that appear with purple or blue spots can be signs of a bacterial infection.  Other signs of infection include yellow or green discharge at the rash site.

When a rash points to a potential medical concern, a visit to Synergy Immediate Care can provide you with the urgent care treatment you need to ensure that your rash is not life-threatening.  For more information about the services we provide, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals at 703-942-5331.

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