Assessing the Severity of a Skin Rash

From poisonous plants to blood poisoning, there are many possible causes of skin rashes. Some of these require emergency care at MountainView Hospital. It may not be practical to memorize the signs and symptoms of all the different skin rashes that may affect your family, but answering the following questions is one way to assess whether emergency care is needed.

Where is the rash located?

A rash can be located virtually anywhere, including inside the mouth. If the rash is on a sensitive area of the body, such as the genital region, in the mouth, or near the eyes, it may be a serious matter. A physician should also evaluate skin rashes that cover large areas of the body.

Are you running a fever?

When a skin rash indicates a medical emergency, it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fever. Measles, for example, can cause a fever and a rash that spreads downward from the face to the rest of the body. Scarlet fever is a streptococcal infection that causes a high fever, sore throat, and skin rash. Other rashes accompanied by fever are less serious, including those caused by fifth disease, roseola infantum, and hand, foot, and mouth disease, which all commonly affect children. To err on the side of caution, always take children to the ER if they display a high fever with a skin rash.

Are you sweating profusely?

In hot, humid weather, some people may begin to develop small, itchy bumps, stinging sensations, and reddened skin. This could be heat rash, which generally appears around the groin, neck, armpits, and elbow creases. Mild cases of heat rash are typically self-treatable by cooling down, drying off, and getting hydrated. If heat exhaustion or heatstroke is suspected, emergency care is necessary. Heat-related illnesses can be indicated by dizziness, nausea, and confusion.

Is there an unusual discharge?

Abnormal discharge, worsening pain, swelling, and warmth are all possible indicators of a skin infection. Infections may follow skin rashes if the patient scratches the rash hard enough to break the skin. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear up bacterial skin infections.

For emergency care at every stage of life, families in Las Vegas know they can trust MountainView Hospital . In addition to our emergency care, our state-of-the-art hospital provides a range of medical specialties, including bariatric weight loss, robotic surgery, and stroke care. A registered nurse is available at (702) 962-5021 to provide general, non-emergent healthcare information.

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