The name rashes describe an area of swollen or irritated skin, but the causes of these can vary. Rashes are not only swollen or irritated, but they are also itchy, painful, produce small bumps and patches or blisters.

Causes of Rashes
There are various causes of rashes, most of which are skin irritants that the person has come into contact with, and which must be treated differently. Whenever you hear the name rash, it’s just the term for one of the symptoms and not the condition itself. Rashes can be a symptom of various medical conditions such as hives, eczema, poison ivy, and other bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.

Below are listed some of the most common causes of rashes.

• Non-Infectious Causes: drug allergies, contact allergic dermatitis, food allergies, eczema, irritant dermatitis, autoimmune problems, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, lichen planus
• Bacterial Causes: Staphylococcus infections, Streptococcus infections, Pseudomonas, Lyme disease, syphilis
• Parasitic Causes: scabies and lice infestation
• Viral Causes: Herpes simplex viruses, Herpes zoster, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, measles, roseola, parvovirus and enteroviruses, Erythema multiforme, dengue fever, Ebola virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus
• Fungal Causes: Trichophyton, Candida, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, aspergillosis

What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms and the severity will also vary depending on the cause and the location of the rashes on the body. Watch out for the following: scaling, ulceration, blistering, discoloration, itching, and bumps on the skin. Diaper rash for example can be caused by the urine and feces in the diapers that are left too long. Contact dermatitis, another common cause of rashes, is caused by contact to an allergen or irritant. Medications can also cause rashes as a side-effect, especially antibiotics, or the appearance of itchy hives with red bumps. Heat rash is also common especially during hot days. The rashes will look like small blisters clustered together and usually appear on the neck, chest, groin, and elbows.

How are Rashes Treated?
Fortunately, most non-infectious rashes will go away after a while when the person is no longer exposed to the irritant or allergen that caused it. However, the doctor can also recommend over-the-counter medications that should be effective within a week, such as moisturizers, antihistamines, hydroxyzine, diphenhydramine, and hydrocortisone cream.

For fungal rashes, the person must be given antifungal creams, but severe symptoms will need terbinafine, miconazole or clotrimazole. For bacterial, viral, and parasitic causes, the cause must be addressed to reduce the appearance of the rashes.

Heat rashes can be treated by keeping the affected area cool, dry, and away from friction from clothing. Lotions, creams, ointments, and powders are not recommended because they can block the pores and worsen the rashes. For diaper rashes on the other hand, parents must make sure to change the diapers regularly, keep the affected area always dry and clean, and to use pediatrician-recommended barrier creams and pastes with zinc. However, you should avoid baby powder and products with fragrances and other irritants.