Possible diagnoses: contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, hives, Diaper rash, viral exanthem
Introduction: For many patients a skin rash can be quite concerning depending on its location or if it is associated with itching, or pain, etc. Additionally, sometimes it can be difficult to get an appointment to see a dermatologist. Fortunately, most mild skin rashes can be successfully addressed at an urgent care.
A skin rash can happen due to a number of various reasons. Some common possibilities include allergic reactions or hives, atopic dermatitis or eczema, contact dermatitis (e.g. Poison Ivy), etc. In children, heat rash, diaper rash, and viral exanthem are common possibilities.
Self-diagnosis is not recommended as trying different creams or medications without the proper diagnosis can lead to further problems down the line and may even aggravate the skin condition.
If you are concerned about a new rash that has developed, contact a Kingsley Clinic doctor today! We would be happy to help you.
Symptoms: Depending on the cause of the skin rash, symptoms can include itching which can often become quite severe, pain or irritation, dryness which can lead to cracked skin, redness, warmth, or bumps on the skin. Some rashes may be benign with no symptoms at all but are only brought to attention because of the appearance of the skin. Other times bumps or blisters can form which can secondarily become infected and may need antibiotics treatment.
It is important to keep track of all the symptoms that develop with a skin rash and have a good timeline to explain to the physician how the rash has progressed as that can be helpful to reach a diagnosis.
Testing: For most mild skin rashes only a good history and physical exam is needed to make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment. Testing is typically not necessary in the urgent care setting. However, if you have a chronic skin condition, or recurrent skin rash that does not improve with the prescribed treatment then a biopsy may be needed to further investigate the underlying cause of the skin rash. ‘
Treatment: The treatment for a skin rash will depend on the type of rash and the underlying cause. For allergic type rashes, the most important and first thing that needs to be done is to identify the allergic trigger and avoid it.
For general soothing of irritated skin, calamine lotion is a great option that is available over the counter. It provides a cooling sensation and can help with itching and pain. In some cases, antihistamine pills like over-the-counter Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, or Hydroxyzine (prescription medication) may also be required to control itching and to treat hives.
Anti Inflammatory creams like steroid creams and ointments are also mainstay in the treatment of many skin conditions. Steroid creams come in many different strengths and formulations. Most people may be familiar with hydrocortisone 1% cream that is available over-the-counter but this is in fact one of the least potent steroid creams and may only be used for the mildest skin rashes and to help control itching. There are many other prescription strength steroid creams available that can be prescribed based on the type of skin rash you have.
One important thing to note regarding steroid creams is that use should be avoided in sensitive areas like eyelids, face, or genitals as it can cause thinning of the skin.