Although not permanent, rashes, poison ivy, and bug bites can certainly be some of the most annoying of skin irritations. Fortunately, many times these things will simply go away without medical assistance after a short period of discomfort. However, some individuals can have more severe, widespread or long-lasting cases that require the expertise of a dermatologist. Even life-threatening reactions can occur—if a person experiences the following symptoms they should seek treatment immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Rashes on the face or genitals
- Most of the body is covered in rashes or blisters
Dermatitis is a term that refers to a red itchy inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by an allergic or irritation reaction to a substance that has come in contact with the skin or something ingested. Rashes may be painful with blisters, or dry and flaky. The rash should subside once the irritant or allergen is out of the person’s body or no longer in contact with the skin. Sometimes the rash or itchiness can persist though. If a patient is unsure of the cause of a rash, the dermatologist can help to diagnosis the root of the problem.
The treatment of dermatitis depends on the location, severity, and cause of the rash. Common methods used are topical creams, oral medications and cortisone shots. When oral medication is used, antihistamines will suppress the itching and steroids reduce inflammation.
A rash due to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is caused by urushiol oil found in those plants. Most people do not notice a rash until 12 to 72 hours after the skin has come in contact with the oil. It is not contagious and will not spread. (When someone thinks it has spread it is really a delayed reaction on another area of the body.) Typically it will go away in a few weeks.
If the reaction is serious, a dermatologist can prescribe a steroid ointment that is applied directly to the skin. Medication such as prednisone may be necessary in severe cases of poison ivy.
If the patient has a fever, pain, swelling, pus or warmth around the rash it is likely a result of infection. The dermatologist can prescribe an antibiotic.
Insect bites are very common, especially in the summer. It can be almost impossible to escape the season without a few. Although it’s difficult to do, It is important not to scratch them. Doing so will cause more inflammation and itching. It can also break the skin, which can lead to infection. Anti-itch medication and ice are the best ways to control the discomfort.
If there are many bites, blisters, or a discharge of pus, a dermatologist can help. In cases of infection an antibiotic will be prescribed or over the counter antiseptic medication with be recommended. Antihistamines and corticosteroids are used for allergic reactions and may also help control itch.
ADSC is conveniently located near Atlanta, Georgia with locations in Roswell and Greensboro. Aesthetic Specialty Centre Plastic Surgery & Dermatology can help to address your concerns with rashes or bites.
*The information about Rashes and Bites was reviewed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Marc E. Yune. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.