What Can Cause a Severe Allergic Skin Rash?

Many skin rashes involve only temporary discomfort and are not usually cause for alarm. However, some patients may develop severe skin rashes in response to allergens. If a skin rash is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty breathing, joint pain, fever, or streaks of red, patients are advised to seek emergency care. At MountainView Hospital, our emergency care team is always ready to care for families throughout the Las Vegas area.


Hives, or urticaria, typically causes mild to severe itchiness. The affected areas of skin develop red or skin-colored welts. When the center of a red hive is pressed, it may turn white. Hives can be caused by a wide range of triggers, ranging from medications to pet dander. Insect stings or bites, certain foods, blood transfusions, viral or bacterial infections, pollen, and some plants may cause hives. Unless the hives are accompanied by swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing, they are not typically life-threatening.


Some people who believe they are suffering from hives may actually have angioedema. Angioedema is a possible complication of an allergic reaction. Its appearance is similar to that of hives; however, the swelling is located under the skin instead of on top of it. Angioedema may involve swelling of the mouth, eyes, hands, feet, and throat, along with stomach cramps and difficulty breathing.

Latex Allergies

When a person with a latex allergy comes into direct contact with a latex product , he or she can rapidly develop itchiness, redness, and swelling of the skin. Other possible symptoms can include chest tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a runny or stuffy nose. These allergic reactions can be serious. In very severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur. This is an allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Although many hospitals have switched to latex-free gloves, it’s still important for patients with latex allergies to promptly inform all attending healthcare providers of their allergy.

Highly trained ER physician specialists and emergency care nurses are available 24/7 at the Emergency Room of MountainView Hospital. For true medical emergencies in the Las Vegas area, please call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 233-5300 or browse our website for more about our lines of service, including stroke care, robotic surgery, and bariatric weight loss.

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