lady in pain looking awfully sick suffering from a spreading skin rash affecting her neck

When Should I See a Doctor for a Rash?

We all get a rash at some point in our lives, but most resolve on their own. That leaves many patients wondering if they need medical care when a new red or blotchy patch appears. If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between a benign inconvenience and a serious rash, read on for more information.

What Causes a Rash?

There are numerous causes of rashes, from viral conditions to environmental allergens. Some common rashes include:

  • Atopic dermatitisThis common type of eczema causes an itchy rash that can flare when your skin is injured, or your immune system is overtaxed. 
  • Psoriasis: This autoimmune condition causes a scaly, noncontagious rash commonly found on the elbows, knees, hands, feet, and scalp.
  • Hives: Also known as urticaria, these raised patches suddenly appear when triggered by allergens, medications, emotional stress, or heat. 
  • Contact dermatitis: This allergic reaction causes an itchy rash and can be triggered by cosmetics, household cleaners, jewelry, pet dander, plants, and more.
  • Shingles: Also known as herpes zoster, this painful and contagious viral rash is caused by the same virus as chickenpox which can lay dormant in your body. 
  • Childhood illnesses: Many viral illnesses that are common in children can cause rashes, including chickenpox, rubella, and scarlet fever.
  • Insect bites or stings: Immune responses to insect bites can cause a rash. For example, fleas, bedbugs, and lice commonly leave clusters of small red bumps, and ticks with Lyme disease can leave a bullseye rash.

There are numerous other rashes not listed above. The best way to determine what’s causing yours is to visit a board-certified dermatologist like those at SkinSmart Dermatology® for a diagnosis. 

How Do I Know if a Rash Is Serious?

Rashes are a part of the human condition, but not all should go without medical care. A few signs indicate you have a serious rash and should see a doctor. If the rash covers your entire body, spreads rapidly, starts to blister, doesn’t resolve on its own, causes you pain, or shows symptoms of infection (like green or yellow fluid, warmth, or red streaks), you should book an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. 

Sometimes rashes point to a severe viral infection like scarlet fever or measles. You should seek immediate medical care if you have a fever or joint pain with your rash. Our providers are well-versed in thousands of dermatological conditions and can prescribe the appropriate topical or systemic rash treatments.

Get Rash Treatment in Sarasota, Florida

The board-certified dermatologists at SkinSmart Dermatology® have extensive experience diagnosing and treating numerous skin conditions. If you have a concerning rash that’s causing discomfort or won’t go away, schedule an appointment in Sarasota, Florida, at 941-308-7546. Their providers will create an appropriate treatment plan to clear your skin.

Book An Appointment Online Now

Join Our Newsletter

Max. file size: 50 MB.
SMS/Mobile Phone Usage
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Scroll to Top