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How do you diagnose a rash?

Just by answering 5 simple questions a doctor should be able to determine what the rash is.

by Tim Hegan, from Dr Morton’s – the medical helpline

A. Where is it?

B. What does it look and feel like?

C. Has it changed?

D. How are you feeling in yourself?

E. Has anybody else got the rash?

 

A. Where is it?

Is it in single or multiple locations? Is the rash symmetrical across both sides of the body? Where is it most prominent? For example, if it is in the elbow creases or behind the knees or at the wrists and neck it may suggest eczema and you should try some E45 or similar product. If there is no improvement then visit a local pharmacy to ask for some advice on whether hydrocortisone cream would help.

If the rash is around your neck or just on sun exposed areas such as the face, neck and upper back then it could be heat rash. Keeping these areas cool and out of the sun for a time should be sufficient to make it go away.

 

B. What does it look and feel like?

Is it itchy or sore? Is it blistery, weepy or going crusty?

If there are clusters of red marks they are more likely to be the marks of insect bites. If it started as small red spots which became blisters then it could be chicken pox. Scaly rashes could be anything form eczema to psoriasis.

 

C. Has it changed?

How has it developed? Is it growing?

Some conditions such as Pityriasis Rosea can follow a distinct pattern. A solitary initial patch called a herald patch can appear on the trunk several days before the other lesions appear.

 

D. How are you feeling in yourself?

Do you have other symptoms like a cough, cold or a fever?

Some conditions such as chicken pox can begin with flu like symptoms before the rash appears. Other viruses are associated with a fever, headaches and a fine, red rash that moves around the skin from trunk to arms and legs. If the fever is very high and the person is very ill – this is a dangerous sign and you need to seek a doctor’s help urgently.

 

E. Has anybody else got the rash?

Is anyone else you know affected?

Many skin problems can be caught from someone who is affected for example, impetigo is very contagious and you must be careful about hand washing and not sharing flannels and towels.

 

For more information on skin rash visit: https://www.drmortons.co.uk/drm_production/services/sk_skin_rash.php

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The prevalence of skin disease exceeds that of obesity, hypertension, or cancer. Despite skin being the largest organ of the human body, dermatological research remains one of the most under funded areas of medicine. In a world where society has an increasing preoccupation with image and it’s importance to every aspect of a person’s life, sufferers of skin diseases are feeling and being more marginalised and isolated than ever.

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