Self-Care for Skin Rashes
A rash is your skin’s reaction to a substance your body is sensitive to. Most rashes can be treated at home by keeping the skin clean and dry. Many rashes are self-limited and may resolve within 2 to 3 days. Rashes that itch, drain, or hurt may require the attention of a doctor, particularly if the rash is getting worse.
Common causes of rashes
Sun poisoning, caused by too much exposure to the sun
An irritant or allergic reaction to a certain type of food, plant, or chemical. Examples include shellfish, poison ivy and or cleaning products
An infection caused by a fungus (ringworm), virus (chickenpox), or bacteria (strep)
Bites or infestation due to insects or pests, such as ticks, lice, or mites
Dry skin, which is often seen during the winter months and in elderly people
Control itching and skin damage
Take soothing baths. Try 1 cup of oatmeal in a tub of warm water Water that evaporates is cooling to the skin.
Do your best not to scratch. Clip fingernails, especially in young children, to reduce skin damage if scratching does occur.
Use moisturizing skin lotion instead of scratching your dry skin.
Use sunscreen whenever going out into direct sun.
Only mild cleansing agents whenever possible
Wash with mild, nonirritating soap and warm water.
Wear clothing that breathes, such as cotton shirts or canvas shoes.
If fluid is seeping from the rash, cover it loosely with clean gauze to absorb the discharge.
Many rashes are contagious. Prevent the rash from spreading to others by washing your hands frequently before or after touching others with any skin rash.
Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can help control itching of many rashes.
Using over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on small rashes may help reduce swelling and itching.
Most over-the-counter antifungal medications can treat athlete’s foot and many other fungal infections of the skin.
Check with your pharmacist If:
You were told that you have a fungal infection on your skin.
You have questions about or concerns of side effects of a medication.
Call 911 If:
Your tongue or lips start to swell.
You have difficulty breathing.
Call Your health care provider If:
You have a temperature over
101.0°F ( 38.3°C)
You have a sore throat, a cough, or unusual fatigue.
You have an increasingly red, oozy, or painful rash (signs of infection).
You have a rash that covers your face, genitals, or most of your body.
You have crusty sores or red rings that begin to spread.
You were exposed to someone who has a contagious rash, such as scabies or lice.
You have a red bull’s-eye rash with a white center (a sign of Lyme disease).
You were told that you have resistant bacteria (MRSA) on your skin.