As parents, we have all been in a situation where our child is suffering from an itchy, irritating, and sometimes painful rash. Rashes are inflamed and widespread eruptions of skin lesions and discolorations of normal skin. And while this condition is common, the causes might be unknown to most. In this blog, we will discuss the causes of rashes and the different forms they appear in.

Here are the most frequent causes of rashes and how to identify them:

  • Viral Rash. Most rashes are part of a viral illness. Viral rashes usually have small pink spots.  
  • Roseola. This is the most common viral rash in the first 3 years of life.  
  • Chickenpox. A viral rash with a distinctive pattern.  
  • Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease. A viral rash with a distinctive pattern. It starts with tiny red spots and blisters on the palms and soles.  
  • Scarlet Fever. Scarlet Fever is a speckled, red rash all over.  
  • Drug Rash. Most rashes that start while taking an antibiotic are viral rashes. Only 10% turn out to be allergic to drug rashes.  
  • Hives. Raised pink bumps with pale centers. Hives look like mosquito bites. Rashes that are bumpy and itchy are often hives. Most cases of hives are caused by a virus. Hives can also be an allergic reaction. (See that Care Guide for details)  
  • Heat Rash. A fine pink rash caused by overheating. Mainly involves neck, chest and upper back.  
  • Insect Bites. Insect bites cause small red bumps. Flying insects can cause many bumps on exposed skin. Non-flying insects are more likely to cause localized bumps.  
  • Purpura Rash (Serious). Purpura means bleeding into the skin. It looks like purple or dark red large spots. 

Not only are there various types of rashes, they also all fall under two different categories: localized and widespread. And the differences are very important.

Localized rashes occurs on small parts of the body, usually just on one side of the body. An example would be a rash on one foot. Though there are exceptions, such as athlete’s foot, which can occur on both feet. Insect bites can also be scattered, yet are considered localized. The cause of a localized rash is usually from contact with the skin. Examples are rashes caused by chemicals, allergens, insect bites, ringworm fungus, bacteria, or irritants.

Widespread means the rash occurs in larger areas, examples being both legs or the entire back. Widespread can also mean on most of the body surface. Widespread rashes always occur on matching (both) sides of the body. Many viral rashes are on the chest, stomach, and back.  The cause of a widespread rash usually spreads through the bloodstream. Examples are rashes caused by viruses, bacteria, toxins, and food or drug allergies.

We hope this blog has helped you learn the causes of rashes and how to identify them. Should your family be affected by an irritating or painful rash, please visit My Doc Urgent Care right away. Our doctors are expertly trained to identify and treat rashes. Call (201) GET-WELL today to schedule an appointment or stop by! We accept walk-ins!