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Dermatitis: Introduction

A rash is an abnormal condition and reaction of the skin. A rash can be a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. A rash can result from infection, irritation, inflammation, allergy, insect bites and other abnormal conditions.

A rash can occur in any age group or population. A rash can indicate a mild condition, such as a fungal infection called ringworm or contact dermatitis. A rash can also be the result of a moderate condition, disorder or disease, such as an allergy, chicken pox, hives or a parasitic infection of the skin called scabies. A rash can also occur in some serious, even life-threatening conditions, such as in meningitis or severe allergic reactions that include anaphylaxis and allergic purpura.

Depending on the cause, a rash can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when a rash occurs due to shaving or a waxing treatment to remove body hair. A rash can also occur in sudden episodes, such as a rash that happens when a person is exposed to an allergen that causes a rash or to certain plants, such as poison ivy. A rash can also occur over a relatively long period of time, such as when a rash is due to chicken pox or chronic eczema.

A rash can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions. These include methamphetamine abuse, stress, anxiety, and skin conditions, such as pityriasis rosea, acne, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. A rash can also be due to parasitic infections, such as public lice, head lice, and fungal infections, such as jock itch and athlete's foot. A rash can be due to infectious diseases, such as rubella, meningitis, Lyme disease and measles.

The appearance and symptoms of rashes vary greatly depending on the underlying cause. A rash can occur by itself or in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other symptoms can include fever, runny nose, red eyes, cough and sneezing. Complications of a rash can occur from excessive scratching. The underlying disorder, disease or condition can also cause complications. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of a rash.

Diagnosing a rash and its root cause begin with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and exposure to common allergens and infectious diseases, and completing a physical examination.

If an allergy is suspected to be the cause of a rash, diagnostic testing may include skin patch testing. In a skin patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response. A blood test called a radioallergosorbent test (RAST) may also be done to help identify the substances that are causing an allergy. For suspected food allergies, a patient may also be asked to keep a log to record the types of foods that trigger an allergic reaction that includes a rash.

Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to determine other potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as meningitis and other infectious diseases. Diagnosis may also include a complete blood count, a blood test which can help to determine if an infectious process is present. A lumbar puncture may be done if meningitis is suspected.

A diagnosis of a rash and its underlying cause can easily be delayed or missed because a rash may be mild or intermittent and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of a rash.

Treatment of a rash involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of a rash. ...more »

Dermatitis: General name for any type of skin inflammation. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Dermatitis is available below.

Dermatitis: Symptoms

Rashes vary greatly in appearance, extent and severity depending on the underlying cause. Rashes can be red, white, silver and raised, bumpy or flat. They can appear as dots or spots or occur in a large, solid continuous area. Rashes can also include scaling and/or flaking off of skin cells. A rash of purple spots can be due to serious condition, such as ...more symptoms »

Dermatitis: Treatments

Treatment plans for a rash are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the discomfort of a rash and the desire to scratch and decreases the risk of developing ...more treatments »

Dermatitis: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing a rash and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, a rash may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. A rash is a symptom of many different conditions, so a thorough medical evaluation that may include skin patch testing is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the reason for a rash. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Dermatitis

Treatments for Dermatitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Dermatitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Dermatitis?

Dermatitis: Related Patient Stories

Dermatitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Dermatitis.

Alternative Treatments for Dermatitis

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Dermatitis may include:

Types of Dermatitis

Dermatitis: Complications

Read more about complications of Dermatitis.

Causes of Dermatitis

More information about causes of Dermatitis:

Disease Topics Related To Dermatitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Dermatitis:

Dermatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Dermatitis

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare in children, and not often seen more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See misdiagnosis more »

Dermatitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Dermatitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Dermatitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Dermatitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Dermatitis

Dermatitis: Animations

Research about Dermatitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Dermatitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Dermatitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Dermatitis include:

Statistics for Dermatitis

Dermatitis: Broader Related Topics

Dermatitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Dermatitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Dermatitis:

Inflammation of the skin; skin becomes itchy and may develop blisters - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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