Symptoms of and Treatment for Three Types of Skin Rashes

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There are many types of rashes that can irritate your skin and cause it to itch and burn. It can be helpful to determine what kind of rash you have based on the symptoms so you can see your doctor for treatment when necessary. Here are symptoms and treatments for some fungal, bacterial, and viral rashes.

1. Fungal Rash

There are two types of fungus that can cause a skin rash: tinea and candida. Both fungi can cause your skin to become red and peel, crack, itch, burn, and form blisters. 

Candida infections are commonly found on babies as a diaper rash, causing a red, shiny rash on the skin under their diapers. But any warm, moist environment can allow this rash to flourish and itch, such as under the chin of your baby or in the folds of skin on your baby's arms and legs. It can also cause a white coating of oral thrush to appear on the tongue of your child or baby. This same fungus can cause the itching and burning between your toes with athlete's foot.

Tinea fungal infections are called ringworm and create a circular arrangement of blisters and itchy, scaly skin surrounding a center of normal-looking skin. As ringworm progresses, its circular formation grow larger across your skin.

Be careful that you treat both types of fungal infection appropriately. If a fungal rash is not cleared up, it can cause cracking and bleeding, which can lead to a bacterial infection. Treat both fungal infections with antifungal topical medications. You can also apply tea tree oil to the rash several times throughout the day to help clear up a fungal infection. For more serious fungal infections, you will need to see your doctor for a prescription antifungal cream or oral medication.

2. Bacterial Rash

Two types of bacteria-caused rashes you may encounter on yourself or your child are cellulitis and impetigo. Streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria both cause these two rashes, but because they are bacterial, they can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics from your doctor. 

Cellulitis is a noncontagious skin infection that will appear on one area of your body with red, hot swelling. This bacterial infection rash occurs after streptococcus or staphylococcus has gotten under your skin, even when you don't see a break in your skin. This rash usually occurs with a fever and swollen lymph nodes and needs to be treated by your doctor immediately, as it can spread quickly. If cellulitis spreads into your bloodstream, it can damage your internal organs, and you will need intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization until it clears up.

Impetigo rash occurs on your skin after your skin has been broken from a scratch or insect bite, which becomes infected with streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria. The rash looks red and moist from pus, eventually forming yellow-colored scabs. Impetigo is contagious and the bacteria can be spread to others or to other areas of your own body if you scratch the rash. See your doctor for topical or oral antibiotics to treat the rash, which will usually clear up in four to six days

3. Viral Rash

If you were born before the chicken pox vaccine become available in 1995, chances are high that you were exposed to and caught the varicella-zoster virus. And, even after you recovered from chicken pox, you still have the herpes zoster virus lying dormant in your body. This virus can reactivate as shingles later in your life during times of stress and lowered immunity. 

When this virus becomes active, it only affects one area of one side of your body, usually on your torso or legs. As the shingles virus is becoming active in your body, you will begin to feel pain, tingling, itching, and burning on one area of your body. Within a few days the shingles rash will emerge as red bumps that itch and burn. The rash is contagious until the pustules scab over. If you scratch the pustules, you can spread it to others you touch who have not had chicken pox or the vaccine. 

When you experience the painful and irritating symptoms of shingles, it is hard to ignore them. See your doctor within 24 to 72 hours so you can get an oral antiviral medicine to help shorten the course of the virus and help lessen its symptoms. Then, apply anti-itch medication to the rash and take over-the-counter pain medication to help the symptoms.

Be sure to see your doctor, when necessary, to properly treat any skin rash. Click here for more information.