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Acute Rashes
Acute Rashes

Acute Rashes

Acute rashes, also known by several different name; welts, wheals, hives or urticaria, are raised itchy patches that suddenly appear on the skin, either spread out over large parts of the body or localised to a specific area. Most people typically notice that they have a rash because their skin becomes itchy. This itchiness may occur with redness in the area, bumps or raised splotches, and a different skin texture.

Other symptoms of acute rashes are:

  • Blisters
  • Rough or leathery skin texture
  • Crusty, dry or scaly skin

If the rash occurs with any of these symptoms, ensure you seek immediate medical attention.

What are the main causes of an acute rash?

  • Insect bites (usually ticks, mosquitos or fleas)
  • Fungal infections
  • Allergic reactions (for example, food allergies or environmental allergies)
  • Medications such as antibiotics or over-the-counter painkillers (NSAIDs)
  • Bacterial or viral infections (flu or cold)
  • Exposure to heat or cold
  • Unknown triggers – sometimes, the cause of a rash isn’t obvious

A rash occurs when the body releases histamines and other chemical messengers into the skin, resulting from a response to a trigger (medication, temperature change, infection or allergen). The skin’s response is opening blood vessels to release fluid into these tissues.

What are the symptoms of an acute rash?

  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increasing pain
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Neck or head pain
  • Mental confusion
  • Fever

What are the common types of rashes?

The common types of rashes include:

  • Eczema

    This rash causes inflamed, itchy areas. The skin may become dry, thick and scaly, with a damaged outer layer. Stress, a family history of eczema and irritants can increase the risk of eczema.

  • Contact dermatitis

    It causes a small, raised or flat, itchy growth. This growth may appear after touching something that causes an allergic reaction or damages the skin, such as latex, detergents, soaps, metal, dye or chemicals.

  • Atopic dermatitis

    This causes small, itchy, blister-like growth on the skin folds or lines. The growth may produce fluid and become hard, scaly or crusted. You may have swollen eyes or sore, dry skin. This rash often forms after being in contact with an allergen. Wearing rough clothing or overheating may cause atopic dermatitis.

  • Urticaria (hives)

    Hives appear suddenly as raised or patched areas of swollen skin or mucus membrane. The area may burn or itch. The common causes of hives include latex, bee stings, blood transfusion, smoke or certain foods.

  • Pityriasis rosea

    This may appear before a disease caused by a virus or bacteria. The rash may look like a patch on your abdomen, back or chest. The rash may also spread, becoming small, red, cone-shaped bumps, usually growing in groups.

What are the treatment options?

Healthcare professionals may recommend any of the following medications to treat acute rashes.

  • Dupixent
  • Allegra
  • Zyrtec
  • Xolair
  • Triamcinolone

When should I contact my doctor?

You should call your doctor if:

  • You get a cold or cough, or your eyes are swollen and red.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get blisters or sores in your genital area or mouth, or the skin in those areas is peeling off.
  • You get open wounds from scratching your skin or have a red, swollen or painful wound.
  • Your rash lasts longer than three months.
  • You have pain or swelling in your joints.

What is the next step?

If you have symptoms of an acute rash or suddenly notice raised, itchy patches of skin, contact Medical Express Clinic to schedule an appointment with our private GP and a dermatology referral if needed. Call 0207 499 1991 to schedule an appointment for advice and treatment options.