Signs of 6 Common Skin Rashes and How They Are Treated

Signs of 6 Common Skin Rashes and How They Are Treated

Our skin is the outermost barrier protecting us against the harmful effects of the outer world. At times when we are trying to identify a skin rash and it can be difficult to sort through and figure out the primary cause of eruption.


  • Rashes develop due to several irritants such as allergic reaction, toxins and various environmental factors
  • If left untreated, skin rashes and hives can lead to all-body outbreak
  • Skin rashes are mostly treated with oral and topical medication and anti-biotics

Typically, rashes develop due to various irritants such as medication, toxin, disease, allergic reactions and a number of other environmental factors causing abnormal textures on the skin. These rash ranges from mild bumps and hives to severe all-body outbreak requiring immediate medical care.
Let’s know briefly about some of the common skin rashes and their signs which will act as a clue for prior identification.

1. Hives or Urticaria

Causes - Hives also known as urticaria is an allergic reaction caused by various factors such as medication, infection, hot or cold exposure, stress or other environmental triggers. These factors cause our skin cells to release an infection protecting chemical known as histamines in the blood. 

In allergic reaction, histamines might work against the body and cause swelling on the skin which turns into hives.

Signs - Most common signs are raised red marks on the skin. Depending on the severity, hives can also look like spongy, small or large, round and random shaped. They are itchy in nature and can appear in batches.

Treatment - Hives may disappear on their own or recur after sometime. Anti-histamines are usually given for relief. Avoiding hot water or irritating the affected area might help.

2. Impetigo

Causes - Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by two types of bacteria — Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. It can occur through human to human contact, cuts or injury and insect bites. Some form of impetigo occurs more in new-borns and children.

Signs - Impetigo is characterized by red sores that leaves honey colored crust. Other signs include fluid filled blisters and itchy rash.

Treatment - Treatment depends on the severity. Usually, the severe cases are treated with antibiotics.

3. Shingles

Causes - Shingles also known as herpes zoster occurs when chickenpox virus varicella zoster is reactivated in the nerve tissues. Shingles can occur anytime in a person’s lifetime but most commonly occurs after 50 years of age.

Signs - Early symptoms include fever, rash, burning or tingling sensation and localized ache. Later on the rashes turn into fluid-filled blisters. In some severe cases, pain can continue for several months, a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia.

Treatment - Mostly, the rashes go away within 2-4 weeks of onset. Anti-viral drugs may restrict the outbreak. There is also an effective vaccine named Zostavax available for people older than 50.

4. Athlete’s Foot

Causes - Athlete’s Foot called as tinea pedia, is a fungul infection that usually occurs in athletes. It is caused by tinea fungus when it starts growing on the feet. Athlete’s Foot is a contagious disease and can also occur by touching the surface contaminated with tinea fungus. This fungus is commonly found in moist and unhygienic environments.

Signs - It usually causes red, painful blistering rashes. Itching and burning sensation between the toes and soles of the feet and discoloured toenails are some of the other common symptoms.

Treatment - Usually, topical over the counter anti-fungal medications are given but in some case where bacterial infections occur, oral anti-biotics are prescribed.

5. Ringworm

Causes - Opposite to the name, Ringworm (tinea corporis) has nothing to do with worms. It’s a contagious fungal infection typically caused by fungi trichophyton, microsporum, and epidermophyton which is found in soil in the form of spores. Both human and animal are affected by this.

Signs - One may experience red, itchy patches that resemble a ring. The rashes can appear anywhere but most commonly seen on arms and legs.

Treatment - Topical medication such as anti-fungal cream, ointments and gels work best. Ringworm that appears on nails and scalp might require oral medications.

6. Scabies

Causes - Scabies is a contagious disease which is caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. It is highly contagious condition occurring from direct to direct skin contact or transmitted through infested clothing. It is estimated that anytime there are approx. 130 million cases present in the world.

Signs - Intense itching followed by rashes. Continuous itching can lead to sores. Scabies commonly appears on elbow, wrist, armpit, nipple, penis, buttocks, etc.

Treatment - Oral histamines, topical ointments and cream are used to treat scabies.

If multiple symptoms are present, seek medical attention immediately as it might help in containing the outbreak to other parts of the body.


Blisters - Elevation of the skin filled with fluid


1. Deacock SJ.(2008, August).An approach to the patient with urticaria read more
3. Pereira LB.(2014).Impetigo - review read more
4. Shingles(2016, December 31). National Institute of Aging read more
5. Hasan MA.(2004).Dermatology for the practicing allergist: Tinea pedis and its complications read more
6. Anna Banerji and Canadian Paediatric Society(2015, October).Scabies read more
7. Rashes: The Itchy Truth(2014, August). KidsHealth read more
8. Ringworm(2017, August 09). NHS read more
9. Athlete's foot(2015, September 29). NHS 
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