M.D. Claiborne & Associates, L.L.C. - Dermatology Specialists
A rash is an area of inflamed and irritated skin. Rashes are characterized by redness, itching, swelling, and various types of skin lesions (e.g., macules, papules, nodules, plaques, pustules, vesicles, wheals). In some cases, the area of skin affected is dry and sensitive, cracks or flakes, and is warm to the touch. Most people experience some type of itchy skin rash during their lifetime. In most cases, simple rashes are not serious; but rarely, a rash can indicate a life-threatening condition. It is important to see a physician for the correct diagnosis of any rash.
Whether it is used by patients or doctors, the word rash does not have an exact meaning or refer to a specific disease or kind of disorder. It’s a general term that means an outbreak of bumps on the body that changes the way the skin looks and feels. Rashes can be localized to one area or else be widespread. The way people use this term, a rash can refer to many different skin conditions. Common categories of rash are
- scaly patches of skin not caused by infection,
- scaly patches of skin produced by fungal or bacterial infection,
- red, itchy bumps or patches over the body, such as on the chest and back.
Although rashes are seldom dangerous, self-diagnosis is not usually a good idea. Proper evaluation of a skin rash requires a visit to a doctor or other health-care professional.