1 imprudently incurring risk; "do something rash that he will forever repent"- George Meredith
2 marked by unthinking boldness; with defiant disregard for danger or consequences; "foolhardy enough to try to seize the gun from the hijacker"; "became the fiercest and most reckless of partisans"-Macaulay; "a reckless driver"; "a rash attempt to climb the World Trade Center" [syn: foolhardy, reckless]
2 a series of unexpected and unpleasant occurrences; "a rash of bank robberies"; "a blizzard of lawsuits" [syn: blizzard]
- Rhymes: -æʃ
- for the town in Afghanistan see Rash, Afghanistan
The presence of a rash may aid associated signs and symptoms are diagnostic of certain diseases. For example, the rash in measles is an erythematous, maculopapular rash that begins a few days after the fever starts; it classically starts at the head and spreads downwards.
CausesCommon causes of rashes include:
- allergies, for example to foods, dyes, medicines, insect stings, metals such as zinc or nickel; such rashes are often called hives.
- skin contact with an irritant
- bacterial or viral infection, e.g., by the viruses that cause chickenpox, smallpox, cold sores and measles
- fungal infection, such as ringworm
- reaction to vaccination
- skin diseases such as eczema or acne
- exposure to sun (sunburn) or heat
- irritation such as caused by abrasives impregnated in clothing rubbing the skin. The cloth itself may be abrasive enough for some people
Evaluating a rashThe causes of a rash are extremely broad, which may make the evaluation of a rash extremely difficult. An accurate evaluation by a doctor may only be made in the context of a thorough history (What medication is the patient taking? What is the patient's occupation? Where has the patient been?) and complete physical examination.
Points to note in the examination include:
- the appearance: e.g., purpuric (typical of vasculitis and meningococcal septiaemia), fine and like sandpaper (typical of scarlet fever); umbilicated lesions are typical of molluscum contagiosum (and in the past, small pox); plaques with silver scales are typical of psoriasis.
- the distribution: e.g., the rash of scarlet fever becomes confluent and forms bright red lines in the skin creases of the neck, armpits and groins (Pastia's lines); the vesicles of chicken pox seem to follow the hollows of the body (they are more prominent along the depression of the spine on the back and in the hollows of both shoulder blades); very few rashes affect the palms of the hands and soles of the feet (secondary syphilis, rickettsia or spotted fevers, guttate psoriasis, hand, foot and mouth disease, keratoderma blenorrhagica);
- symmetry: e.g., herpes zoster usually only affects one side of the body and does not cross the midline.
Typically, it is never a good habit for one to scratch a rash, as doing so may invigorate the rash and cause it to spread. Gently rubbing the rash may provide temporary relief, but it is more than likely better to avoid contact with the affected areas altogether.
Quick Overview of Symptoms of Skin Rashes/Diseases
- Guide to rashes on Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia - includes photographs
- Guide to rashes on RevolutionHealth.com
- Rashes on DiscoveryHealth.com
- Links to pictures of skin rashes (Hardin MD/Univ of Iowa)
- Clinical pictures of common childhood skin rashes - VisualDxHealth
rash in German: Exanthem
rash in Spanish: Rash (dermatología)
rash in Persian: کهیر
rash in French: Exanthème
rash in Ido: Irito
rash in Italian: Esantema
rash in Hebrew: פריחה
rash in Latin: Exanthema
rash in Japanese: 皮疹
rash in Polish: Wysypka
rash in Portuguese: Exantema
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