A Rash Decision – Advice for 3 Common Skin Conditions

Ever been confronted with an unfamiliar skin rash? The kind of rash that’s troublesome but you’re not quite sure warrants a visit to the dermatologist? Here’s a rundown of three common skin irritations and the best course of action for each one.

Heat Rash
This skin eruption, also known as miliaria or prickly heat, looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It develops when sweat ducts become blocked and swell which leads to itching and discomfort. It’s appears most frequently on the neck and upper chest, in the groin area, under breasts and in elbow creases. Heat rash is most common in babies but has been known to affect adults in hot, humid climates.
Prevention tips:
• In hot weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting cotton clothing
• Use fans, bathe in cool water and utilize air conditioning whenever possible
• Dress babies similarly to an adult on any given day. In other words, don’t overdress
Treatment tips:
• Refrain from applying any type of oil-based products that will exacerbate the problem
• Apply calamine lotion and/or hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching
• Be patient and the heat rash will likely clear up on its own in a few days
• Consult a doctor if the rash persists or a fever develops

Ringworm
This skin infection appears as a ring-shaped lesion. The fungus that causes ringworm is highly contagious and is commonly passed through direct contact. Household pets can also carry the fungus and transmit it to humans. Ringworm is easily preventable and in the majority of cases very easy to treat at home.
Prevention tips:
• Keep your skin clean and dry
• Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing
• Don’t share clothing, towels or sports equipment
• Always wear sandals in locker rooms, showers and public bathing areas
Treatment tips:
• Wash the rash with soap and water
• Apply a nonprescription anti-fungal cream containing miconazole or clotrimazole
• If the rash persists after two weeks, consult your doctor

Eczema
This rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands or feet. It can affect other areas as well but one thing about eczema – it’s almost always itchy. The good news is it isn’t contagious. The bad news is there are about 10 different types plus there’s no cure. The precise cause of eczema is a mystery although there’s speculation it’s linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. Families with a history of allergies or asthma are more susceptible.
Prevention tips:
• Use soap sparingly to avoid drying out skin
• Seal in moisturizer by applying it immediately after a bath or shower
• Opt for fragrance-free products that won’t irritate skin
Treatment tips:
• Bath frequently in lukewarm water (just don’t use a lot of soap)
• Stay in the water at least 10 to 20 minutes to allow skin to really soak up moisture
• Administer over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to soothe inflamed, itchy skin.
• Consult with your doctor if severe symptoms persist for a more regimented treatment plan

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