Healthy skin provides a barrier
between the inside of the body and the outside environment. A rash is a change of the skin which affects its color, appearance or texture. It may be localized in one part of the body, or affect the entire skin. Rashes may cause the skin to change color, itch, become warm, bumpy, chapped, dry, cracked, blistered, swell, or become painful. The causes, and therefore treatments for rashes, vary widely. Diagnosis must take into account such things as the appearance of the rash, other symptoms, what the patient may have been exposed to, occupation, and occurrence in family members.
The causes of a rash are extremely broad, which may make the evaluation of a rash extremely difficult.
An accurate evaluation by a provider may only be made in the context of a thorough history (What medication is the patient taking? What is the patient's occupation? Where has the patient been?) and complete physical examination. Treatment differs according to what rash a patient has been diagnosed with. Common rashes can be easily remedied using topical steroid creams or non-steroidal treatments. Many of the medications are available over the counter as well.