What causes a rash?
Commonly, a rash is caused by contact with plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are the three most common poisonous plants. The sap oil (urushiol) of these plants can cause an allergic reaction when they come in direct contact with skin. The oil may also get on clothing or animals and cause a reaction through indirect contact.
Certain diseases, infections, and viruses may also manifest with rashes. Chicken pox is a disease that is characterized by its remarkable itchy rash. If you have had chicken pox in your lifetime, you may develop shingles in your adult life. Shingles manifests only on one side of the body and stays in a dermatomal region without spreading over other parts of the body. It is a painful rash (it is hardly ever itchy) that often erupts as small vesicles.
If you have unknown allergies to certain products you may develop a rash by contact with it. Such rashes can develop from new medications, detergents, body washed, lotions, animals, or foods. They may develop after use or contact and clear on their own within a couple of days. Other rashes may arise from bites to the skin that spread or get infected. Such as tick bites, scabies, and bed bugs.
What are the common symptoms of a rash?
- rash a few days after exposure – swelling
- itching, pain, or discomfort
- bumps or patches on the skin that may or may not be spreading
How do I prevent a rash and prevent the rash from spreading?
- Keep area covered wear long sleeves, long pants, covered shoes, etc.
- wash face, body, and clothing after contact with allergens
- do not itch and scratch to prevent infection and spreading of rash from one part of the body to another
- do not share towels, sheets, clothes, etc. with others
How do I prevent exposure and prevent plant rash from spreading (like poison ivy)?
- wear long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves when outside – clean exposed tools with rubbing alcohol after use
- remove plants from areas
- do not burn poisonous plants (may cause respiratory problems)
What should I do if I am exposed to these poisonous plants?
- After exposure, immediately rinse skin with rubbing alcohol, poison plant wash or detergent, and lots of water Oatmeal baths, wet compresses, calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream may relieve itching
- Wash exposed clothing in hot water separate from other clothes
- Check pets for exposure and bathe them if necessary
For more information, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-118/pdfs/2010-118.pdf