A skin inflammation, or rash, comes in many forms. While many types of rash can be treated at home, a persistent rash will likely need prescription medication from a dermatologist. The most common types of rash seen in patients are:
- Eczema (dermatitis): Patches of skin that come in contact with a specific material such as wool, certain ingredients in soap or laundry detergent, or fabric become itchy, often causing dry patches of flaky skin to form.
- Contact dermatitis: Similar to eczema, contact dermatitis causes the skin to itch and raised red bumps to form. This condition results from a reaction after contact with certain materials or ingredients in clothing, plants, medication, or makeup that touch the skin.
- Heat rash: Common in the heat of summer, heat rash most often appears in young children because their skin is very sensitive. However, this condition can also afflict adults.
While many of these rashes can be treated with over-the-counter medication, if they last for longer than one week you should schedule an appointment with Perri Dermatology. Dr. Perri sees patients from The Woodlands, Conroe, and Spring, TX.
How to Treat Rashes at Home
Most rashes do not require a visit to the dermatologist for treatment. Patients should begin by treating their rash at home with the following guidelines:
- Do not bandage your rash unless necessary.
- Apply zinc oxide or hydrocortisone cream (1%) to relieve itching sensation.
- Take an antihistamine to reduce inflammation and relieve itching due to allergic reactions.
- Use skin products and detergents that are gentle. Some recommendations are: Cetaphil, and Dove.
If your rash persists for more than a week or returns in the same place after treatment, you will need to see a dermatologist to determine the cause.
Treatment for Children
Rashes are very common in children because they have more sensitive skin and have not had the chance to develop immunity. Many parents are concerned when their children develop uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Red skin
Although these symptoms are uncomfortable, you can use many of the same home treatments as for adults. One caution is to read the label for indications to find out if your child is old enough for a certain medication. Antihistamines should be used only after consulting your child’s pediatrician to ensure the correct dosage.
When to See a Dermatologist
If you find little to no relief from home treatment then it is likely you have a condition called atopic eczema. The symptoms of this condition include:
- Patches of dry, itchy skin.
- Outbreaks at least a few times each year, even up to two or three times a month in severe cases.
- Redness and inflammation when eczema is more severe.
Although this condition mainly afflicts children, anyone can develop atopic eczema and should visit the dermatologist when they recognize recurring symptoms.
If eczema is not treated properly, patients are at a high risk for developing a skin infection from constantly scratching. It is likely you have developed a skin infection if:
- Clear fluid comes from the area.
- You have a fever or flulike symptoms.
- Swelling and pain.
- Bleeding and crusting.
If you recognize one or more of the above symptoms, you should immediately see a dermatologist to receive medical treatment.
Patients who have eczema often require appointments with a dermatologist to treat their symptoms. Because outbreaks are constant and can vary in severity, Dr. Perri will suggest the following prescription and over-the-counter medication to help control your symptoms:
- Topical corticosteroids
In addition to these treatments, Dr. Perri may prescribe oral antibiotics for patients who have developed a skin infection.