Rashes can have many different causes including allergic reactions, friction, prolonged exposure to heat and moisture, or contact with irritants, such as harsh chemicals. Receiving the right diagnosis and treatment is critical to reducing and preventing a rash. At Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of rashes and are committed to seeing all acute rash patients within 24 hours.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is an itchy skin condition that is caused by an allergic reaction to any material that comes in contact with the skin. The affected skin may be red, swollen, blistered, dry, and bumpy. Allergic reactions may vary from one person to another. An allergy can develop at any point in a person's lifetime. Some common sources of allergies develop from toiletries, medical items, rubber products, food products, and metals. The incidence of allergic contact dermatitis is on the increase, especially with the chemical element Nickel.
Anyone who suffers from frequent rashes, reoccurring rashes, or atopic dermatitis (eczema) with frequent flare ups is recommended patch testing. Patch testing is a series of applications applied to the patient's skin to find out whether their skin condition may be caused or aggravated by contact allergy. At Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, we have the most complete, extensive patch tests available in the Midwest. Finding out what a patient is allergic to will help a patient know what to avoid and can reduce or prevent a rash and improve quality of life.
Treatment Options (not limited to):
Topical steroids such as Prednisone have great potential in the treatment of a variety of conditions, such as rashes. Topical steroid creams and ointments are used cautiously only on red, itchy areas as prescribed by a dermatologist. When prescribed in doses that exceed your body's usual levels, Prednisone suppresses inflammation, which can reduce the signs and symptoms of a rash.
Moisturizers should be used liberally and frequently to the entire body (2 to 3 times per day). They should be applied immediately after bathing or showering to "seal in" the water (within 2 to 3 minutes). Keeping the skin moist helps to prevent the dryness and prevent flares of atopic dermatitis. As a general rule, the greasier they are, the better they work. Examples of good moisturizers are Cetaphil Restoraderm lotion, Cerave cream, Vanicream, and plain Vaseline petroleum jelly.
This is a new class of non-steroid immunosuppressive agent. It often times works better than topical steroids and has none of the side effects of topical steroids. It can sting when it is initially applied for the first few days and is much more expensive than topical steroids. These take longer to take effect than topical steroids. They are often used for long term maintenance treatment, along with topical steroids for flare ups.
Oral Benadryl or prescription antihistamines (Hydroxyzine, Doxepin) can reduce itching, but usually cause some drowsiness. They are most commonly used at bedtime. Over-the-counter non-sedating antihistamines such as Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec can be helpful for itching during the day.