BODY SIGNAL ALERT RASH: TREATMENT

If the rash is generalized and appears over a large area of your body, a new medication is usually the culprit. Your doctor will recommend that you stop using the medication; he’ll suggest an alternative. He’ll also advise you to apply calamine lotion or over-the-counter Benadryl three or four times a day to soothe the itching. If the rash appears as a small area of bloodlike pimples on your lower legs and ankles, it may be due to a low platelet count, and the treatment will include drug therapy to increase the count, along with dietary iron supplementation. If the rash appears under the breast or in the groin, you probably have a fungal infection that is often seen in diabetics and obese people. Treatment will be in the form of an antifungal ointment such as Lotrimin three times a day.

If the rash appears as a redness around an area of skin that has recently been traumatized or broken, the cause is usually an infection, and treatment will consist of an antibiotic such as Keflex or Cipro taken by mouth. If the rash is particularly severe, you may need to be hospitalized in order to receive the antibiotic intravenously.

If the rash occurs on one side of your body, starting on your back and continuing around to the front of your torso, and the appearance of the rash is preceded by tingling and pain, you probably have shingles or the herpes zoster virus. Treatment will consist of a medication called Zovirax that can be taken orally or spread on in a cream to speed recovery. A viral rash or one that’s caused by a drug reaction may be flat and might itch.

If the rash occurs on your face and itches and is accompanied by pain and fever, and if you never had chicken pox when you were a kid, you should see your doctor right away. Chicken pox can be severe when it occurs in an adult, and a medication such as Zovirax will be used to treat it.

If the rash appears on your hands and feet and in your mouth, and you also have malaise and a fever, you probably have a common summertime virus called a coxsackievirus. This virus lasts about a week, and there is no known treatment for it.

Finally, if the rash occurs in a series of small clusters or as a large sore on your genitalia, possibly accompanied by a discharge of pus from the urethra, you may have herpes or gonorrhea, which will need to be treated with medication.

Again, since all these conditions require a doctor’s attention, the moment you notice a rash starting to form, you should contact your physician for advice on what to do.

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